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T-Mobile CEO John Legere. (Credit: T-Mobile.)
T-Mobile CEO John Legere. (Credit: T-Mobile.)

T-Mobile will pay $48 million to resolve an FCC investigation into how the wireless carrier slowed down connection speeds for customers using lots of data.

The settlement, which you can read here, explains how T-Mobile subscribers in the top 3 percent of data usage who paid for an “unlimited” plan had their data speeds throttled last year.

The FCC came to the conclusion that T-Mobile’s marketing and advertising around its “unlimited” plan misled customers.

“These customers complained that they were not receiving ‘unlimited’ data as had been sold to them, that their data throughput speeds after de-prioritization caused their data service to be ‘unusable’ for many hours each day, that the de-prioritization policy led to them consuming ‘half’ of the data they wanted to use, or that they had gone to too much trouble changing plans from another carrier to switch again, even though they felt misled by T-Mobile,” the settlement reads.

As a result of the settlement, T-Mobile agreed to better explain its messaging around the “unlimited” plans. It will pay $35 million in benefits and discounts for these customers — which include those using MetroPCS — as well as a $7.5 million fine. The FCC also ordered the company to pay at least $5 million to address the homework gap in low-income school districts.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere called it a “good settlement.”

Last year, the FCC proposed a $100 million fine for a similar investigation into how AT&T throttled customers who paid for “unlimited” data plans.

In August, T-Mobile made waves when it announced plans to shift to a single wireless plan, called T-Mobile One, offering unlimited data. However, the company was criticized due to multiple add-ons that would have led to pricey phone bills for high-powered users. It tweaked the new plans shortly thereafter, streamlining the add-ons and speeding up hotspot data.

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