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News tagged: AT&T


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by Karl Bode 10:44AM Friday Oct 17 2014
After spending most of the last decade profiting off of cramming, AT&T this month was finally held accountable by the government and fined $105 million by the FTC, FCC, and state governments. A similar investigation is ongoing again T-Mobile, and you can likely expect similar settlements in time with both Verizon and Sprint, who also turned a blind eye for years while scammers bilked their customers (why? because they netted 30-40% of the profits).

The FTC case against AT&T is a great read detailing at length how AT&T not only turned a blind eye to the scams, but actually made it harder for customers to identify they were being scammed and to obtain refunds.

With the customer refund process underway, the FTC tells Time that more than 359,000 customers have already applied for refunds (which you can do here), with many many more expected. The FTC told Time that the sheer volume of the case was one for the record books:
quote:
Jessica Rich, the director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, said the response from consumers was one of the largest the agency has ever seen. The only case with a larger number of claims that she could recall was a 2012 settlement with Skechers over deceptive marketing for one of its shoe lines, which garnered close to half a million consumer complaints. “We expect this to be a lot higher,” Rich said.
AT&T of course generates $105 million in about the time it took me to write this post, and the money they made off these scams was potentially dozens of times larger than the fine. Still, it's nice to see the government do its job when big companies are involved, as for most of the decade the FTC and FCC ignored how large carriers helped make these scams possible. Customers need to file their claim before May 1, 2015.

5 comments


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by Karl Bode 11:31AM Thursday Sep 11 2014
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS (plain old telephone) and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade. The name of the game is terminating these unwanted users and pushing them users toward significantly more expensive (and capped) LTE wireless service.
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by Karl Bode 02:33PM Wednesday Sep 10 2014
AT&T has been chosen to power the in-car LTE service now being integrated by Audi, and an announcement back in March made it clear the privilege of the data integration isn't particularly cheap (then again, if you can afford an Audi and Audi repairs, data plan overages may not be a worry). According to an Audi announcement, customers can also now add their Audi to AT&T's Mobile Share data plan, allowing their vehicle to pull from their monthly data allotment.
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by Karl Bode 02:16PM Tuesday Sep 09 2014
AT&T is pushing their Digital Life home automation and security services in a new direction in the hopes of expanding revenue: they're now offering in-home monitoring services marketed to those caring for the elderly. According to the company announcement, the new product is called "Digital Life Care" and will be trialed in employee homes this year, and should see a broader commercial deployment sometime in 2015.
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by Karl Bode 09:09AM Friday Sep 05 2014
AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile's Isis NFC-based mobile payment service was already struggling, with many users either simply not interested in the idea of using their smartphone as a debit card, already using other services, or simply never having heard of it. Now things are more complicated, with the service suddenly sharing its name with a violent iraqi uprising dominating the newswires (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS).
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by Karl Bode 09:02AM Thursday Sep 04 2014
Popular Science serves up an interesting read about the discovery of fake "towers" that are being used to surreptitiously intercept cell phone traffic. ESD America offers a product they call the GSMK Cryptophone 500, which is essentially a Galaxy S III running modified hardware and a modified, more-secure version of Android -- which the company states purges 468 vulnerabilities from the traditional Android build.
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by Karl Bode 06:41PM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
California this week became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring that cell phones include so-called "kill switch" functionality to deter theft, enabled by default (the full law is here, pdf). Minnesota passed a similar law earlier this year, but in that version of the law, the functionality is turned off by default.
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by Karl Bode 08:21AM Tuesday Aug 26 2014
The New York Post claims that AT&T has struck a deal with the Department of Justice that would allow AT&T's $48.5 billion plan to acquire DirecTV to move forward. The report fails to specify what precise conditions the DOJ will place on the deal, though it does suggest that regulators are leaning toward approval with DOJ approval coming as soon as October.
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by Karl Bode 06:09PM Thursday Aug 21 2014
AT&T's Sponsored Data -- which exempts a company's content from AT&T's arbitrary caps if they pay AT&T a fee -- so far hasn't seen much interest from major companies. While a few smaller outfits have signed up, larger companies either don't want to pay -- or don't want to take part in the neutrality controversy surrounding AT&T's idea.
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by Karl Bode 01:28PM Tuesday Aug 19 2014
A new report by RootMetrics effectively declares Verizon the king when it comes to mobile network coverage, reliability, speed, and overall performance. The study, which collected data from 5.6 million test samples while driving some 234,000 miles across the country, gave the crown to Verizon for all metrics except text message performance, which Verizon closely lost to AT&T.
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by Karl Bode 05:39PM Thursday Aug 14 2014
AT&T has announced that the company has officially started selling symmetrical 1 Gbps Gigapower connections in select parts of their home town of Dallas. According to a company press release, 1 Gbps speeds are only available to residents and small businesses in the Highland Park and University Park neighborhoods.
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by Karl Bode 02:24PM Wednesday Jul 30 2014
Mobeen Khan, AT&T's executive director of M2M product management, says the company's plan to shut down their 2G network by the end of 2016 remains on schedule. AT&T will be refarming that spectrum for eventual use on their 3G and 4G networks. "We have an operational team that is engaged with these customers," Khan tells Fierce Wireless. "It's a closely watched process." Cell phone users are easier to force-upgrade than M2M (machine to machine, or non-phone devices with embedded cellular chipsets) users. AT&T won't state how many 2G M2M users remain connected to their network.

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by Karl Bode 12:30PM Wednesday Jul 30 2014
AT&T has been on a bit of a tear the last week or so, announcing that they're deploying their faster 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service to customers in Dallas, Nashville and San Antonio. Now AT&T is announcing that Charlotte too will be getting the faster service:
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AT&T today confirmed it will expand its ultra-fast AT&T GigaPower network to the City of Charlotte.
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by Karl Bode 08:14AM Wednesday Jul 30 2014
Senator Patrick Leahy introduced legislation this week that would dramatically restrict the NSA's unfettered access to bulk-collected Internet and phone data. "If enacted, this bill would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago," Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on the Senate floor.
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by Karl Bode 12:02PM Tuesday Jul 29 2014
Add San Antonio to the list of cities where some select users will have access to 1 Gbps speeds courtesy of AT&T. Like with the announcements on their planned Dallas and Nashville deployments, this latest announcement offers absolutely no detail on overall deployment numbers, pricing, or timeframe for deployment. As noted previously, these deployments will only target a limited number of higher-end developments, MDUs and college campuses, though the announcements omit that fact (something I affectionately refer to as "fiber to the press release").

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by Karl Bode 06:33PM Monday Jul 28 2014
As we noted last week, two different cities with their own broadband networks (Wilson, NC and Chattanooga, Tennessee) have formally asked the FCC to declare that laws in their states hindering community broadband aren't enforceable, giving FCC boss Tom Wheeler the perfect opportunity to back up claims that he'd take action. Such bills are written and lobbied for by companies like Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, and often restrict local citizen rights to determine for themselves what the best course of action for their community is.
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by Karl Bode 12:33PM Monday Jul 28 2014
Last week, AT&T announced that the company would be bringing its 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service to portions of Dallas. Now, according to a new announcement by the company, AT&T states they'll also eventually be offering 1 Gbps connectivity to at least some customers in Nashville, Tennessee. "Specific locations of availability and pricing for the Nashville market will be announced at a later date," notes the company. As noted in detail, AT&T remains ambiguous about precise deployment numbers because they're only planning to target very select, high-end development communities for this ultra-fast service, but wants the public relations benefit of the perception of a much larger deployment.

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by Karl Bode 08:51AM Monday Jul 28 2014
back in 2011 both AT&T and Apple were sued for pitching a $30 unlimited data plan for the 3G-enabled iPad, then withdrawing the unlimited data plan option one month after Apple began selling the device. Last year AT&T and Apple settled the lawsuit, and those impacted users are now receiving checks for $40. Don't spend it all in one place, kids!

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by Karl Bode 11:04AM Wednesday Jul 16 2014
You'll recall that AT&T recently threw their full support behind the FCC's latest version of flimsy neutrality rules resting upon legally-dubious Section 706 authority. AT&T supports this path because said rules (in their previous form and in their new, regurgitated form) don't cover wireless, are filled with numerous, giant loopholes, and may not be enforceable in the first place.
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by Karl Bode 05:01PM Friday Jul 11 2014
Senator Al Franken has been a very vocal opponent of Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and now the Senator is taking aim at AT&T's attempted acquisition of DirecTV. In a letter (pdf) to regulators concerning the merger, Franken warns to take AT&T promises like offering standalone broadband services with a grain of salt.
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