You may or may not remember a time when AT&T and Verizon both offered unlimited data. That was quite a few years ago. It’s hard to imagine that there are many people that still have an unlimited data plan on AT&T. But there are. And AT&T has been throttling them if they go over 5GB of data usage. This has been happening for quite some time, actually. The FCC proposed a fine to AT&T for throttling their unlimited data customers, a fine of about $100 million. However, AT&T isn’t looking to just pay the money.
Today, the second largest wireless carrier in the US filed a document with the FCC, proposing that this fine be dropped and cancelled. Basically stating that they did notify users that they would be throttling their data speeds. In fact, AT&T says that they notified customers with online disclosures as well as text messages, and even stated how much data you could use before being throttled. The company also stated that the fact that they followed the rules and notified their customers, should end this case. AT&T also stated in that document that the FCC had no basis for settling on that high of a fine, and that they should be fined no more than $16,000.
According to AT&T’s document, filed today:
“The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible.” They went on to state that “Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”
This fine that the FCC has slapped on AT&T is the biggest in history. And AT&T doesn’t think its fair. AT&T went as far as to say that the FCC had ulterior motives, in this document. It’ll be interesting to see what actually happens here. Whether the FCC decides to stick with the $100 million fine on AT&T or decides to lower it or drop it altogether. With the decision coming up on the Incentive Spectrum Auction that’s happening next year, this probably isn’t a good look for AT&T to get their way. Even though the smaller competitors, namely Sprint and T-Mobile, have been petitioning the FCC to have a larger reserve and the FCC has declined to do so, so far.