US wireless carrier AT&T has been hit by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a $100 million fine for misleading subscribers about so-called "unlimited" data plans. This is the largest proposed fine the FCC has issued, and AT&T will not surprisingly try to fight to have it reduced.
Consumers used more than 3GB of 3G data or 5GB of 4G data during a 30-day billing cycle would have their speeds throttled. That may seem bad enough, but AT&T wouldn't inform subscribers about the data throttling, the FCC said.
"Unlimited means unlimited," said Travis LeBlanc, FCC enforcement bureau chief, when discussing the penalty. "As today's action demonstrates, the commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits."
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to issue refunds to AT&T subscribers promised unlimited data, and that lawsuit is still active.
AT&T actually threw in the towel on unlimited data plans for subscribers back in 2009, with a small number of customers grandfathered into unlimited data. The company now only throttles data if its networks are "congested."