FCC Fines T-Mobile $200 Million for Sprint Abuse of Lifeline Program
T-Mobile and the FCC have agreed to settle an FCC investigation started in September 2019 alleging that Sprint defrauded the US government by collecting approximately $8 million per month in Lifeline subsidies for 885,000 ineligible accounts. Lifeline helps low-income consumers afford basic phone and internet service. Sprint participated in the Lifeline program under the Assurance Wireless brand. T-Mobile acquired Sprint earlier this year. As part of the settlement, T-Mobile will pay $200 million, and agree to additional controls to prevent such fraud in the future. Although this is by far the largest such settlement, the FCC fined other companies for similar abuse of the Lifeline program in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2018.
Aug 27, 2019
Sprint today launched 5G service in four new cities, and launched one new 5G phone: The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, available starting today. In New York City, 5G covers 1.7 million people, and parts of Manhattan from Central Park to the southern tip.
Nov 7, 2019
T-Mobile today announced plans to offer three new programs offering 5G service for free to certain groups, or cheaply for everyone else. The company is promising to launch the programs when and if it is allowed to merge with Sprint.
Aug 2, 2020
The Sprint brand is no more, as T-Mobile today completes its effort to bring former Sprint stores and other assets under the T-Mobile umbrella with re-branding. Most Sprint stores closed early last night to give employees time to conduct the T-Mobile make-over.
Oct 23, 2018
The FCC today proposed a fine of more than $63 million against American Broadband and Telecommunications Company for violating rules regarding the Lifeline program. The company, a wireless reseller based in Ohio, "improperly sought and received Lifeline funding by creating numerous ineligible Lifeline subscriber accounts."
Sep 25, 2019
The FCC this week launched an investigation into allegations that Sprint collected federal subsidy payments for 885,000 subscribers that were not actively using Sprint service, violating a key rule of the Lifeline program for low-income consumers. If true, this would amount to Sprint collecting over $8 million/month of taxpayer money that it was not entitled to.