T-Mobile fined $40M for faking ring tones to cover up failed calls

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T-Mobile will pay a $40 million fine acknowledging Federal Communications Commission allegations the company employed fake ring tones when they couldn't connect calls in rural areas, according to NPR.

The company confirmed it used false ring tones in hundreds of millions of calls in order to deceive the caller into thinking the call is going through unanswered, even though they were not connecting at all.

"It is a basic tenet of the nation's phone system that calls be completed to the called party, without a reduction in the call quality — even when the calls pass through intermediate providers," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "The FCC is committed to ensuring that phone calls to all Americans, including rural Americans, go through."

The practice of false ring tones was discovered after the FCC received complaints from callers and telephone companies in rural Wisconsin.

"Our actions have always been focused on better serving our customers and the ring tone oversight, which was corrected in January 2017, was unintentional," a spokesperson for T-Mobile told NPR. "We have settled this matter — and will continue to focus on our mission to change wireless for good for consumers everywhere."

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