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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

FTC slams AT&T with federal complaint over throttling “unlimited” data


The smartphone industry is full of plenty of gigantic companies, with influence and buckets of money at their disposal. As such, it’s easy to feel a bit like David in the face of Goliath, and even if you have a valid complaint against one of these juggernauts, getting your way can feel like squeezing blood from a stone. Luckily for smartphone users in the US, the Federal Trade Commission has got their back, and we’ve seen recent efforts from it trying to stem unauthorized purchases from the various app stores out there. The latest target to wander into its crosshairs is AT&T, as the FTC goes after the carrier for what it describes as failing to live up to the promise of unlimited data.
We’re looking all the way back to 2011 here, as the FTC’s complaint revisits the story we shared with you back then of AT&T appearing to throttle the speeds of unlimited plans after crossing just a 2GB threshold. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, and over the years the FTC accuses AT&T of throttling unlimited data for some 3.5 million subscribers.
Specifically, the agency takes issue with AT&T effectively changing the terms of existing contracts with subscribers for “unlimited” data plans, as well as not being upfront about the nature of its throttling when offering users the chance to renew such plans.
The FTC worked with the FCC to prepare its action against AT&T, which takes the form of a federal court complaint against the carrier.
In a response, AT&T calls the charges “baseless” and insists that its contracts are “fully transparent and consistent with the law.”
Source: FTCAT&T
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