The FCC Just Fined T-Mobile $48 Million and You Might Get Free Data

T-Mobile unlimited data
A man using a cellphone passes a T-Mobile store in New York. Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

When you pay more for unlimited service, you expect to get said service. But for some T-Mobile customers, that hasn’t been the case.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined T-Mobile $48 million for alleging it offered customers unlimited data plans when, in fact, it slowed data speeds for customers who “exceeded a monthly data threshold.”

“Company advertisements and other disclosures may have led unlimited data plan customers to expect that they were buying better and faster service than what they received,” the FCC said in a statement. The T-Mobile settlement also benefits MetroPCS customers.

Are You a T-Mobile Customer?

T-Mobile will return $35.5 million to customers… but sadly, not as cash.

Eligible customers will receive 4GB of additional data and discounts of 20% off T-Mobile or MetroPCS accessories, including earbuds and phone cases, up to a maximum discount of $20. The company will notify customers of their eligibility by Dec. 15, 2016.

Customers can visit specific sites to learn about the T-Mobile and MetroPCS benefit programs. T-Mobile customers will automatically receive an extra 4GB of mobile internet data in December that is valid for one month. (This would be a great time to stream your entire Netflix queue while visiting your parents for the holidays.)

The MetroPCS version of the settlement is sort of a bummer: The 4GB of data is delivered as two automatic 2GB bonuses for two consecutive months. It’s also only valid for tablets linked to an “unlimited handset line.” MetroPCS customers will receive a text message to confirm their eligibility.

The company also owes a $7.5 million fine to the U.S. Treasury and another $5 million toward providing broadband and devices to low-income school districts.

Your Turn: Did you purchase an unlimited data plan through T-Mobile or MetroPCS? What do you think of the settlement offers?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

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