T-Mobile agrees to pay $90 million to settle with FTC over unwanted charges

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 19, 2014

Following a complaint that the United States Federal Trade Commission filed over T-Mobile this summer over fraudulent services, the Deutsche Telekom-owned wireless carrier today announced it has agreed to pay $90 million to settle cramming accusation. Carrier cramming, a form of fraud popular among major US carriers, results in small charges being added to a bill by a third party without the subscriber’s consent or disclosure.

Such unlawful charges typically cover unwanted text message alerts and other services like unauthorized SMS subscriptions for horoscopes, sports scores, ring tones and similar services that cost ten bucks per month or more. Read More

 

Sprint just had a bad day: Record FCC fine, no more Nascar partnership

By Jake Smith on Dec 16, 2014

Sprint just had a pretty bad day, sending its stock down 5 percent after some troubling news. The Wall Street Journal reports an FCC official confirmed the regulatory body is preparing to fine Sprint, the nation’s third-largest mobile carrier, a record $105 million after allegations it charged consumers for unwanted text message alerts and other services. Read More

 

FCC documents reveal Apple-branded Beats Bluetooth Solo2 headphones

By Cody Lee on Nov 7, 2014

Newly discovered FCC documents have leaked what may be the first Beats product released under Apple’s banner: Bluetooth-enabled Beats Solo2 headphones. First spotted by 9to5Mac, the new Solo2s look nearly identical to their predecessor, with the exception that they’re wireless.

The headphones will utilize Bluetooth Low Energy tech, and won’t be Beats’ first cordless can offering. The company has, for a while now, carried the Beats Studio Wireless–although looking at previous line pricing, it’s likely that the new Solo2 product will be a bit more affordable. Read More

 

AT&T forced to pay $105 million over bogus billing

By Cody Lee on Oct 8, 2014

The US government has just handed AT&T a significant fine for allowing third party companies to stealthily tack on their charges to customer phone bills for things like spam SMS text messages. The announcement was made on Wednesday in a joint press conference by the FCC and FTC, who say this is the largest “cramming” settlement in history.

In total, AT&T will pay out $105 million to settle the case—$80 million is earmarked for the FTC, which it will use to set up a reimbursement program, $5 million will go to the FCC, and $20 million will go to individual states. Additionally, the carrier has been ordered to begin proactively informing subscribers if extra fees are going on their accounts. Read More

 

FCC questions Verizon’s plan to throttle select data customers

By Cody Lee on Jul 30, 2014

Last week Verizon announced a new ‘network optimization’ initiative to start throttling data users. Beginning in October, the carrier is going to start slowing the speeds of the top 5% of its unlimited LTE customers when they’re connected to a busy cell site.

Obviously, VZW subscribers weren’t very happy with the news, and apparently neither was the FCC. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler sent a letter to Verizon today saying that he was “deeply troubled” by its new throttling plans… Read More

 

Apple iBeacon hardware revealed in FCC filings

By Cody Lee on Jul 13, 2014

Apple’s iBeacon technology has seen a lot of success in its first year. The tech, which allows administrators to push data to smartphones based on their location, has already been adopted by a number of retailers and organizations.

But thus far, Apple’s success with iBeacons has been limited to software, as it’s left the hardware up to third-party firms. It looks like that’s about to change, though, as FCC filings reveal that the company has built its own iBeacon… Read More

 

FCC loosens labeling restrictions for iPhones and other devices

By Cody Lee on Jul 13, 2014

This is kind of interesting. The FCC’s Office of Engineering & Technology issued new labeling guidance on Friday, saying that manufacturers can do away with the awful FCC ID etchings found on the backs of iPhones and other devices with integral screens.

Until now, the FCC has asked that any equipment requiring FCC certification sport a nameplate or etched label listing its FCC ID and other info. But with devices getting smaller and more complex, it wanted to update the requirement for the digital age…  Read More

 

FCC filing says Apple exploring development of a set-top box

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2014

Evidence is mounting that Apple is working on advancing its $99 set-top box around a bunch of new features like downloadable apps and games, iOS 7 game controller support, streamable television channels and subscriptions, DVR and wireless AirPort router capabilities, cable box functionality and what not. Whether any of this pans out is up for debate.

That said, surely Apple won’t be standing still as new entrants like Amazon enter the crowded living room space. Perhaps the most solid piece of evidence to date comes in a filing with the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) related to the planned Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger.

Hit the jump for more… Read More

 

FCC approves AT&T’s $1.3 billion acquisition of Leap Wireless

By Cody Lee on Mar 14, 2014

Last summer, AT&T announced that it had reached an acquisition deal with Leap Wireless. The company said that it would be buying out the provider, which owns and operates the popular prepaid carrier Cricket, for $15 per share—equal to $1.3 billion. All it needed was approval from the FCC.

And it just got it. Yesterday the Federal Communications Commission gave AT&T’s acquisition proposal a thumbs up, ruling that “the public interest benefits of the proposed transaction outweigh the likelihood of significant public interest harms.” So what does this mean for everybody involved? Read More

 

FCC releases ‘Speed Test’ app for measuring cellular and Wi-Fi data speeds

By Cody Lee on Feb 26, 2014

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has just released a new app for iOS devices called FCC Speed Test. As the name suggests, the app is designed to measure data speeds for both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

The app is part of the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program initiative, which aims to better inform consumers about mobile broadband performance, and it measures download/upload speed, latency and packet loss… Read More

 

FCC chairman talks AT&T’s controversial ‘Sponsored Data’ program at CES

By Cody Lee on Jan 8, 2014

AT&T raised more than a few eyebrows on Monday when it announced a new ‘Sponsored Data’ program. The goal of the program is essentially to offer a way for companies to pick up the tab for 4G data usage whenever specific products or services are being used.

Initial feedback to the announcement has been a mix of “what an interesting idea” and complaints from net neutrality advocates. And today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler chimed in, using his time at CES to discuss his off-the-cuff thoughts on AT&T’s proposition… Read More

 

FCC and carriers finally agree on cell phone unlocking

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 12, 2013

Threatening regulatory action, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was able to drive U.S. wireless carriers into a corner concerning their stance on cell phone unlocking. As much as carriers would want to lock phones to their network to make switching service that much harder, the FCC and major U.S. wireless companies have reached an agreement which will make it easier for people to unlock their devices and switch from one carrier to another.

The wireless association called CTIA, which represents U.S. carriers like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular, released a statement on Thursday confirming that all named carriers have agreed to the new cell phone unlocking principles put forth by the government… Read More

 

Verizon wins approval for $130 billion purchase of Vodafone’s stake in VZW

By Cody Lee on Dec 6, 2013

Back in September, Verizon announced that it had reached an agreement with Vodafone to purchase its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. The carrier, which was founded in April of 2000, has thus far been a joint venture between the two companies.

With a purchase price believed to be approaching $130 billion, the deal will go down as one of the largest acquisitions in history. And it looks like it will be happening sooner, rather than later, as the FCC has just given the transaction its approval.. Read More

 

FCC to discuss lifting cellphone ban on in-flight voice calls and cellular data

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 21, 2013

After the United States Federal Aviation Administration appeased travelers by permitting airlines to finally expand the use of smartphones, tablets and other personal electronics devices during nearly all phases of flight, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now mulling letting passengers make in-flight voice calls and use cellular data when above 10,000 feet.

Current regulation mandates passengers to put their devices in Airplane mode, which shuts down all radios, thereby reducing any possible interference with the avionics.

However, only specially equipped planes will support making in-flight phone calls and accessing cellular data, should the proposal pass the FCC’s December meeting… Read More

 

FCC Chairman urges CTIA to amend Consumer Code on unlocking

By Cody Lee on Nov 15, 2013

There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the consumer’s right to unlock their mobile devices, but very little meaningful action. That changed this week, though, thanks to new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Wheeler sent out a letter to the CTIA (the governing body of the wireless industry) urging it to amend its Consumer Code to include a policy ensuring consumer rights to get their devices unlocked once off contract… Read More

 

Suspicious plastic iPhone backplate with certification markings surfaces

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 26, 2013

Here’s a nice little nugget naysayers should chew on. A photograph that surfaced on a Chinese website earlier today appears to seemingly depict a plastic chassis, presumably belonging to Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone model.

Now, we’ve seen these things previously shown off extensively in a high-resolution video, hires close ups and a bunch of  previously published photographs. What distinguishes this particular “leak” from others are the certification markings on the back – and that’s an unexpected treat in my book… Read More

 

Airlines split on whether iPhones pose in-flight danger

By Ed Sutherland on May 15, 2013

If you thought the question over in-flight electronics was settled, think again. Although the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to announce in July whether to relax current rules governing in-flight use of iPhones, iPads and other devices, questions remain about their safety.

Wednesday, Bloomberg recounted testimony from pilots and others calling into question whether some devices – particularly those using cellular connections – may interfere with newer GPS-based navigation. In one instance, pilots believe an iPhone caused their airliner to fly miles off course… Read More

 

FCC approves T-Mobile and MetroPCS merger

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2013

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just approved a merger between Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile and MetroPCS, an American mobile phone service provider formerly known as General Wireless. Though FCC head Julius Genachowski clearing the merger, it still has to be approved by MetroPCS shareholders to become official.

The FCC told Bloomberg that the merger will “benefit millions of American consumers and help the US maintain the global leadership in mobile it has regained in recent years.” At any rate, it should help bring T-Mobile’s struggling 4G LTE network online sooner than later… Read More

 

FCC questions ban on unlocking cell phones

By Ed Sutherland on Mar 1, 2013

The federal government is expressing concern about the recent criminalization of unlocking cell phones. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Thursday his office will look at the subject to see if and what the agency can do. Earlier this year, an exemption in a digital copyright law expired, prompting outrage from some mobile phone owners.

The head of the FCC said he is “concerned” that a return to the ban on unlocked cell phones could stifle competition or limit innovation. As Cody reported last month, a White House petition calling for again allowing unlocking drew more than 100,000 signatures… Read More

 

FCC filing reveals new, slightly smaller Apple TV

By Cody Lee on Jan 29, 2013

This is pretty interesting. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s discovery of an unknown AppleTV3,2 device in the new iOS 6.1 firmware comes evidence that Apple is indeed planning to refresh the set-top box sometime in the near future.

The proof comes by way of a new FCC (Federal Communications Commission) filing, published today, from the Cupertino company. The documents out an unreleased Apple TV, model A1469, with slightly smaller dimensions… Read More

 
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