The company slowed speeds for customers with unlimited data plans and failed to adequately notify them of the practice, the Federal Communications Commission said in a news release Wednesday.
“Consumers deserve to get what they pay for,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “Broadband providers must be upfront and transparent about the services they provide. The FCC will not stand idly by while consumers are deceived by misleading marketing materials and insufficient disclosure.”
AT&T has said it slowed data of some heavy users to keep its service running well, and has adequately notified customers.
“We will vigorously dispute the FCC’s assertions,” said Michael Balmoris, an AT&T spokesman. “The FCC has specifically identified this practice as a legitimate and reasonable way to manage network resources for the benefit of all customers.”
“We have been fully transparent with our customers” and exceeded FCC disclosure requirements, Balmoris said.
Since 2011, the FCC has received “thousands” of complaints from AT&T’s unlimited data plan customers saying that they were surprised and misled by the company’s policy of intentionally reducing their speeds, the agency said Wednesday.
Consumers also complained about being locked into a long-term AT&T contract, subject to early termination fees, for an unlimited data plan that wasn’t actually unlimited.
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