Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Mobile fined over false ringtones

John Legere The Associated Press
Russell Knight | 18 April, 2018, 22:04

The FCC banned carriers from broadcasting false ring tones back in 2014, but T-Mobile admitted it still used them for out-of-network calls for some customers.

Mobile phone network T-Mobile has agreed to pay $40m (£27m) after claims by the U.S. government that it used false ringtones when calls could not be connected in rural areas. False ring tones are a problem on calls to rural areas and are a symptom of the problems of impaired quality and completion of calls to rural areas.

The FCC charged that this occurred on hundreds of millions of calls.

In the order released Monday, the agency noted it had received complaints from callers and several local telephone companies in rural Wisconsin.

The false ringtones made it seem like the person being called wasn't answering the phone, when really the call just wasn't going through.

"Prior consent decrees have included direct-to-consumer benefits, such as refunds or discounts, or notifications to customers who have been impacted", Mignon Clyburn, the FCC commissioner, said.

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As a result, Clyburn said that meant consumers making calls to certain rural areas would hear ringing on their end, even if the call was not actually connecting and the phone was not actually ringing at the called party's premises.

An interesting twist that I have not seen in other articles, however, is the connection (no pun intended) between this matter of completing rural phone calls - or otherwise letting callers know when their calls can not be completed - and the matter of completing so-called "robocalls" to all called parties (not just those in rural areas).

T-Mobile's been doing a lot of sh*t talking on other carriers lately, but they should probably work on keeping their own corner clean.

The $40 million settlement also requires T-Mobile to implement a compliance plan to address the issues.

Not only did the deception make the problem hard to discover and resolve, Clyburn said that callers who believed their call had gone through might worry when no one picked up.

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