back to article 'Uncarrier' T-Mobile US to un-carry $40m for bumpkin blower bunkum

T-Mobile US will be a bit lighter in the wallet today, thanks to a $40m fine served by the FCC. The US comms watchdog demanded the money from the mobile network – which refers to itself as the Uncarrier – after it lied about its efforts to improve reception for America's rural communities. Specifically, the FCC said, T-Mobile …

  1. waldo kitty

    Ringing has never been synced

    The ringing has never been synchronized. Much too much trouble. Why would anyone ever get the idea they were synced is beyond me.

    1. leexgx

      Re: Ringing has never been synced

      in the UK Vodafone does this fake ringing when your cant connect to the persons phone (its the voicemail thats ringing witch should never happen) witch is very annoying out of any network Vodafone UK is the only network that does this (they might be doing this like t-Mobile USA is to make it look like they have less dropped calls or not connected ringing calls)

      when the call connects that's when the ringing starts (not a fake 2 ring answer phone with T-mobile was doing and i assume Vodafone UK as well, some people take the p and set there voicemail up with a personal one to hang you on the voice mail for 15 seconds before you hit the beep to start recording)

  2. Garymrrsn

    Cost Benefit Ratio

    Corporations can predict the costs of noncompliance as easily as motorists can predict traffic fines.

    So long as the benefit is worth the penalty corporations (and motorists) will ignore the rules and promise not to do it again (until next time).

    1. joed

      Re: Cost Benefit Ratio

      I bet that average motorist can't predict the outcome of being pulled over the way big corp's legal and finance departments can guesstimate liability of non-compliance and its impact on profit. What's surprising here is that T has not avoided fines - after all Walker's state is pro "free market" and the great leader and his FCC pawn seem to share the same sentiment.

      1. wayne 8

        Parking Tickets are Set

        American motorists can know the fine for a parking offense.

        They can judge whether to endure the hassle of driving around to find a non offending spot or to just take the hit and be n their way.

        For a a commercial entity making a necessary, timely delivery to a high value customer, it is the cost of maintaining that relationship.

        If a party had suffered physical injury in the event of a dropped call, then there would be a different procedure for determining T-Mobile's penalties.

    2. goldcd

      Re: Cost Benefit Ratio

      Not just 'can' - legally are compelled to do as their fiduciary duty to shareholders.

  3. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Now if the FCC would just go after Frontier for its misleading and deceptive practices for its "braodband" service. It's broadband only when compared to the old 56kbps dial-up.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Same deal with CenteryLink in Oregon. They all play that game after manipulating the FCC to change the rules. They use phone lines and since the FCC redefined "broadband" they can get away with it.

  4. Milton Silver badge

    What's surprising ...

    What's surprising ... is that so far no one has expressed much surprise. The same companies bleating about the virtues of dregulation, the free market knowing best, operating in the customer's interest etc etc etc are yet again found to be lying through their teeth and cheating customers in even the pettiest, and most childishly sordid ways.

    The reason governments have to be fierce and fair regulators is the same reason that's been staring us all in the face since the South Sea Bubble: companies (almost all large institutions, in fact) do not have even the rudimentary personal decency of individuals, and rapidly develop behaviours that we would normally describe as psychopathic. The dilution of personal ethical awareness and responsibility that occurs around the boardroom table and among senior managers when their only goal is personal bonus and shareholder return absolutely guarantees that companies will behave as badly as they can get away with.

    We have seen this only about 100,000 times in every conceivable industry for 300 years. It's not just tobacco, alcohol, auto, big pharma, internet—every single one of them will rapidly morph from the fancful guff of "Don't Be Evil" to "Rape the Customer in Every Possible Way" as they grow and become ever more entrenched in the un-balanced scorecard of shareholder value.

    Regulation should assume that any loophole and dirty trick will be exploited if it is not fiercely policed, and the punishment for misbehaviour shouldn't be token fines: they should be existentially threatening, with criminal sanction of executives where justified.

    Capitalists love to bray on about the virtues of competition, while doing everything they can to destroy it, to manipulate markets, to use lobbying to tilt the playing field against competitors, to buy favourable legislation from politicians, to use predatory pricing against rivals and to form cartels and monopolies whenever there's the faintest chance of getting away with it.

    If you want a decent, balanced, open and truly competitive free market, then fair, tough, universally applied regulation is the only way to go. (Which is why plutocrats don't like it.)

    1. Edwin

      Re: What's surprising ...

      I beg to differ somewhat. Regulation is absolutely necessary, but the problem here isn't deregulation - it's in politics where (particularly in the US) corporations have so much sway that regulation has become twisted and complex to the point of being impossible to manage as politician after politician tries to right a perceived wrong while listening carefully to whoever is sponsoring their re-election campaign (or, in the case of Ajit Pai, their future employment) to ensure it's not righted "wrongly".

      As soon as the electorate starts thinking with their head instead of responding blindly to whatever nonsense is being doled out by the likes of Cambridge Analytica and the Internet Research Agency, politics will start returning to government for the people rather than behaving like big business.

      I'm not holding out much hope though...

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "That's not going to have CEO John Legere quaking in his boots"

    No, it certainly won't, but the fine is still in the millions, not in the tens of thousands, so there's that.

    Then there's the fact that it represents a day and half of not raking in the dough, which always makes the board wince.

    Finally, there's the fact that they got fined, and a repeat offense will likely cost more (at least, one can hope).

    Personally, I'm just glad that a company screwing its customers got a multi-million dollar fine. There's not enough of that.

  6. handleoclast Silver badge

    That will teach T-Mobile

    It will teach T-Mobile that they need to give Eejit Pie a bigger bung or he will hit them with bigger fines. This £40 million fine was a big clue as to the size of bung he expects next time.

    Cynical? Moi?

  7. Louis Schreurs BEng

    So Dutch here, hence not familiar with US situation, and perhaps missing the point of this article completely, I admit in advance, but here where I live, if I don't have a connection to a Cell transceiver, visible on my mobile (Cell) phone: no antenna, then I am not connected to the network and will not be able to make a phone call????????????????????? Nobody get's fined here if they have an open spot on their coverage map.

    I thought when living in nobody's land, you buy a satellite phone.

    1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      They claim they're covering the area, so they need to cover the area. Instead of fixing the problem they fake up false data.

      It's not the hole in coverage. It's the lies and broken promises.

    2. NBCanuck

      Reply to Louis Schreurs BEng

      The issue appears to be that when people are calling T-Mobile customers who are in rural areas with poor coverage the caller gets a fake dial tone and is led to believe that the recipients phone is ringing when it is not. The caller should instead be getting a recording saying that the call cannot completed. T-Mobile is hiding it's poor coverage.

  8. Alistair Silver badge

    Boardroom convo later today

    "Okay - $40M fine, where can we pull in an extra $40M this year... lesseee....."

  9. DougS Silver badge

    $40 million fine isn't enough to change behavior

    It might be for some little MVNO, but not for one of the big 4 carriers in the US.

    Instead of fines, they should hit companies where it hurts by removing their access to tax credits, spectrum auctions or something like that.

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