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Author Topic: T-Mobile fined $40m for scamming rural users with Potemkin ring-tones  (Read 1000 times)

Omegafant

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Boing-Boing is a good source for not so common matters.

Here is new background info on a fraud committed by the T-Mobile:

https://boingboing.net/2018/04/17/local-ring-back-tone.html

[*quote*]
T-Mobile fined $40m for scamming rural users with Potemkin ring-tones

T-Mobile didn't want its rural users to know how shitty its service was, so when the company couldn't connect a call, it would play fake "ring tones" to the caller that made it sounds like the person on the other end wasn't picking up. It did this "hundreds of millions of times" per year.

The FCC has fined T-Mobile $40,000,000, but will not require the company to issue refunds to the customers it scammed.

T-Mobile had engaged in this practice for years, and then the FCC banned it, but they didn't stop. Hence the fine.
[...]
[*/quote*]


"For years". How about 10 years? Or more? It began in 2007? Or earlier?

Why is there no refund to the scammed cusomers!?


The FCC publish this document:

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-18-373A1.txt

[*quote*]
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
Before the
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
 
 
 
 
In the Matter of
 
T-Mobile USA, Inc.   
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File No.:  EB-IHD-16-00023247
Acct. No.:  201832080003
FRN: 0004121760
 
 
ORDER
 
Adopted:  April 16, 2018 Released:  April 16, 2018
 
By the Acting Deputy Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
 
 
1. The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission has
entered into a Consent Decree to resolve its investigation into whether T-Mobile USA, Inc. (T-Mobile)
conveyed false ring tones on its customers’ telephone calls, and whether it corrected problems with
delivery of calls to consumers in rural areas.   
2. Section 64.2201 of the Commission’s rules1 prohibit service providers from injecting
false ring tones on any telephone calls.  False ring tones cause callers to believe that the phone is ringing
at the called party’s premises when it is not.  A caller may then hang up, thinking no one is available to
receive the call.  False ring tones also create a misleading impression that a caller’s service provider is not
responsible if the call fails.  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.   
3. Rural call completion problems have significant and immediate public interest
ramifications.  They cause rural businesses to lose revenue, impede medical professionals from reaching
patients in rural areas, cut families off from their relatives, and create the potential for dangerous delays in
public safety communications.   
4. To settle this matter, T-Mobile admits that it violated the Commission’s prohibition
against the insertion of false ring tones and that it did not correct problems with delivery of calls to certain
rural areas.  T-Mobile agrees to implement a compliance plan and to pay a $40,000,000 civil penalty. 
5. After reviewing the terms of the Consent Decree and evaluating the facts before us, we
find that the public interest would be served by adopting the Consent Decree and terminating the
referenced investigation into T-Mobile’s compliance with Section 64.2201, and its compliance with
Section 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act),2 in connection with delivery of its
calls to consumers in rural areas.
                                                     
1 47 CFR § 64.2201.
2 47 U.S.C. § 201(b); see Developing an Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime, Declaratory Ruling, 27 FCC
Rcd 1351 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2012).
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373 
 
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6. In the absence of material new evidence relating to this matter, we do not set for hearing
the question of T-Mobile’s basic qualifications to hold or obtain any Commission license or
authorization.3
7. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 4(i) of the Act and the authority
delegated by Section 0.111 an 0.311 of the Commission’s rules,4 the attached Consent Decree IS
ADOPTED and its terms incorporated by reference.
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the above-caption matter IS TERMINATED.
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order and Consent Decree shall be
sent by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, to David H. Solomon, Esq. and Russell
P. Hanser, Esq. Attorneys for T-Mobile USA, Inc., Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, 1800 M Street, NW,
Suite 800N, Washington, DC 20036.
 
 
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
 
 
Christopher L. Killion
Acting Deputy Chief
Enforcement Bureau
                                                     
3 See 47 CFR § 1.93(b).
4 47 CFR §§ 0.111, 0.311.
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
Before the
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, DC 20554
 
 
 
In the Matter of
 
T-Mobile USA, Inc.
 
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File No.:  EB-IHD-16-00023247
Acct. No.:  201832080003
FRN:  0004121760
CONSENT DECREE
 
1.        The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission and T-Mobile
USA, Inc. (T-Mobile), by their authorized representatives, hereby enter into this Consent Decree for the
purpose of terminating the Bureau’s investigation into whether T-Mobile violated Section 201(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act),1 in connection with delivery of long distance calls to
consumers in certain rural areas, and Section 64.2201 of the Commission’s rules (Rules), in connection
with T-Mobile’s former practice of inserting false ring tones on calls placed by its customers.2
I. DEFINITIONS
2. For the purposes of this Consent Decree, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) “Act” means the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.3
(b) “Adopting Order” means an order of the Commission or the Bureau adopting the
terms of this Consent Decree without change, addition, deletion, or modification.
(c) “Bureau” means the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications
Commission.
(d) “Commission” and “FCC” mean the Federal Communications Commission and all
of its bureaus and offices.
(e) “Communications Laws” means collectively, the Act, the Rules, and the published
and promulgated orders and decisions of the Commission to which T-Mobile is
subject by virtue of its business activities, including but not limited to the Rural Call
Completion Rules.
(f) “Compliance Plan” means the compliance obligations, program, and procedures
described in this Consent Decree at paragraph 19.
(g) “Covered Employees” means: (1) all employees of the Company who perform, or
supervise, oversee, or manage the performance of, duties that relate to T-Mobile’s
responsibilities under the Rural Call Completion Rules; and (2) all such employees
of third party call centers performing duties relating to customer care. 
(h) “Effective Date” means the date by which both the Bureau and T-Mobile have
signed the Consent Decree.
                                                     
1 See 47 U.S.C. § 201(b); see also Developing an Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime, et al., Declaratory
Ruling, 27 FCC Rcd 1351 (WCB 2012) (Rural Call Completion Declaratory Ruling).
2 See 47 CFR § 64.2201.
3 47 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.
 
 
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
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(i) “Investigation” means the informal complaints referenced in paragraphs 7 and 9
below and the investigation commenced by the Bureau under File No. EB-IHD-16-
00023247 regarding whether T-Mobile violated Sections 201(b) and 202(a) of the
Act and Section 64.2201 of the Rules 
(j) “Intermediate Provider” has the meaning provided in the Rural Call Completion
Rules.4
(k) “OCN” means an Operating Company Number that is an alphanumeric code that
uniquely identifies providers of local telecommunications service.5   
(l) “Operating Procedures” means the standard internal operating procedures and
compliance policies established by T-Mobile to implement the Compliance Plan as
described in this Consent Decree at paragraph 19.
(m) “Parties” means T-Mobile and the Bureau, each of which is a “Party.”
(n) “Rules” means the Commission’s regulations found in Title 47 of the Code of
Federal Regulations.
(o) “Rural Call Completion Declaratory Ruling” means the declaratory ruling captioned
as Developing an Unified Intercarrier Compensation Regime, et al., Declaratory
Ruling, 27 FCC Rcd 1351 (WCB 2012). “Rural Call Completion Enforcement
Advisory” or “Advisory” means the advisory captioned as FCC Enforcement
Advisory: Rural Call Completion, Long Distance Providers Must Take Consumer
Complaints about Rural Call Completion Problems Seriously, Public Notice, 28
FCC Rcd 10347 (EB 2013).  “Rural Call Completion Order” means the order
captioned as Rural Call Completion, Report and Order and Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 16154 (2013), modified in part on recon., 29
FCC Rcd 14026 (2014). 
(p) “Rural Call Completion Rules” means Sections 201(b) and 202(a) of the Act as
interpreted in the Rural Call Completion Declaratory Ruling, Section 262 of the Act
once the Commission’s implementing rules become effective, the Rules adopted in
the Rural Call Completion Order, 47 CFR Sections 64.2101, 64.2103, 64.2105,
64.2107, 64.2109 and 64.2201, and other provisions of the Act, the Rules, and
Commission orders related to Rural Call Completion, including those addressed in
the Rural Call Completion Enforcement Advisory, and as may be modified by the
Commission from time to time.
(q) “T-Mobile” or “Company” means (i) T-Mobile USA, Inc., (ii) to the extent they use
the T-Mobile USA, Inc, network, its United States subsidiaries and other United
States entities controlled by T-Mobile USA, Inc., and (iii) its predecessors-in-
interest and successors-in-interest.
II. BACKGROUND
3. In 2012, the Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) issued a declaratory
ruling that addressed a “pattern of call completion and service quality problems on long distance calls to
certain rural areas.”6  The Rural Call Completion Declaratory Ruling observed that these “problems
                                                     
4 47 CFR § 64.2101.
5 See Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, ATIS Telecom Glossary,
http://www.atis.org/glossary/definition.aspx?id=8448 (last visited Apr. 9, 2018).
6 See Rural Call Completion Declaratory Ruling, 27 FCC Rcd at 1351, para. 1.   
 
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
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appear to be occurring particularly in rural areas served by rate-of-return carriers where the costs that long
distance providers incur to complete calls are generally higher than in non-rural areas.”7  WCB explained
that the symptoms of rural call completion problems include calls that do not complete when dialed, calls
with “poor call quality, as well as … calls that ring for a prolonged period for the caller but that do not
ring, or ring on extremely delayed basis, on the receiving end.”8  The Rural Call Completion Declaratory
Ruling concluded that “a carrier that knows or should know that calls are not being completed to certain
areas, and that engages in acts (or omissions) that allow or effectively allow these conditions to persist,
may be liable for a violation of section 201 of the Act.”9  Moreover, “it is an unjust and unreasonable
practice in violation of section 201 of the Act for a carrier that knows or should know that it is providing
degraded service to certain areas to fail to correct the problem or to fail to ensure that intermediate
providers, least-cost routers, or other entities acting for or employed by the carrier are performing
adequately.  This is particularly the case when the problems are brought to the carrier’s attention by
customers, rate-of-return carriers serving rural areas, or others, and the carrier nevertheless fails to take
corrective action that is within its power.”10   
4. In 2013, the Enforcement Bureau issued an advisory to providers warning them to take
informal consumer complaints about rural call completion problems served on them by the Commission
seriously.11  The Rural Call Completion Enforcement Advisory directed that, with respect to such
complaints, “providers must address consumer complaints about rural call completion or explain why
they are unable or refuse to do so.”12   
5. In February 2013, the Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning
rural call completion problems, and specifically proposed adopting a rule that, in accordance with “long-
established telephony signaling practice (and end-user expectation),” would prohibit sending an audible
ring tone “to the calling party until the terminating provider has signaled that the called party is being
alerted to an incoming call, such as by ringing.”13  In November 2013, the Commission released the Rural
Call Completion Order, which codified a prohibition of false audible ringing,14 commonly referred to as
“false ring tone.”15  This rule became effective in January 2014.16  Originating providers like T-Mobile,
                                                     
7 Id. at 1354, para. 7.   
8 Id. at 1351-52, para. 2.
9 Id. at 1355, para. 11. Section 201(b) of the Act provides that “[a]ll charges, practices, classifications, and
regulations for and in connection with [interstate and foreign] communication service, shall be just and reasonable,
and any such charge, practice, classification, or regulation that is unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.” 
47 U.S.C. § 201(b).   
10 Rural Call Completion Declaratory Ruling, 27 FCC Rcd at 1355–56, para. 12 (footnote omitted).  The
Declaratory Ruling noted that injecting false ring tones on calls could constitute an unreasonable practice.  See id. at
1355, para. 12 & n.35. 
11 FCC Enforcement Advisory: Rural Call Completion, Long Distance Providers Must Take Consumer Complaints
about Rural Call Completion Problems Seriously, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 10347 (EB 2013) (Rural Call
Completion Enforcement Advisory).
12 Id. at 10348.
13 See Rural Call Completion, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 1569, 1582, paras. 40-41, 1588-89
(proposed rule 64.2201) (2013) (2013 Rural Call Completion NPRM).
14 See Rural Call Completion, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 28 FCC Rcd 16154,
16200, para. 112 & 16202, para. 115 (2013) (Rural Call Completion Order); 47 CFR § 64.2201; 2013 Rural Call
Completion NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 1588-89.
15 Rural Call Completion, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 32 FCC Rcd6047, 6048 para. 2 (2017). 
16 See Federal Communications Commission, Rural Call Completion, Notice of Final Rule, 78 Fed. Reg. 76218
 
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
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are prohibited from “convey[ing] a ringing indication to the calling party until the terminating provider
has signaled that the called party is being alerted to an incoming call, such as by ringing.”17  As explained
in the Rural Call Completion Order, “false audible ringing”:18 
[O]ccurs when an originating or intermediate provider prematurely triggers audible ring
tones to the caller before the call setup request has actually reached the terminating rural
provider.  That is, the calling party believes the phone is ringing at the called party’s
premises when it is not.  An originating or intermediate provider may do this to mask the
silence that the caller would otherwise hear during excessive call setup time.  As a result,
the caller may often hang up, thinking nobody is available to receive the call.  False
audible ringing can also make it appear to the caller that the terminating rural provider is
responsible for the call failure, instead of the originating or intermediate provider.19   
6. As relevant here, T-Mobile is a wireless telecommunications carrier and a “covered
provider” under the Commission’s rural call completion rules.20   
7. Beginning in June and continuing through the summer of 2016, the Commission received
complaints from three rural incumbent LECs in Wisconsin.  These complaints, which were filed in the
Commission’s rural call completion e-mail box, alleged over 40 incidents in which T-Mobile customers
were unable to complete calls to consumers served by these three rural providers.  Many of the complaints
reported that the calling party heard ring tones on call attempts that failed to reach the rural customers. 
The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) served these complaints on T-Mobile and requested that the Company
contact the complainants, investigate and resolve the problems, and submit reports of its investigations to
the Bureau.  In two instances, the Bureau pointed out to T-Mobile that the Commission’s rules prohibit
sending ring tones to the calling party before the called party is alerted to an incoming call.
8. T-Mobile subsequently filed with the Bureau reports of its investigations of the
complaints.  In each instance, T-Mobile reported that it had handed the call off to an intermediate
provider for delivery, and that any reported problems had been “resolved.”  T-Mobile stated that it
believed that the actions taken by intermediate providers in response to each complaint had remedied all
problems and did not specifically address the ring tone issue raised in some of the complaints.   
9. In addition to the rural carrier complaints filed in the rural call completion e-mail box, in
August 2016, three T-Mobile customers filed informal complaints against the Company with the
Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB).  CGB served these informal
complaints on T-Mobile pursuant to Section 208 of the Act and Section 1.717 of the Commission’s Rules. 
All three complaints described ongoing problems reaching landline phones in a particular exchange. 
Records subsequently obtained from T-Mobile show that, in addition to filing complaints, together, these
consumers called T-Mobile at least 13 times between June 5 and August 18.  T-Mobile subsequently
replicated call failures through test calls.     
                                                     
(Dec. 17, 2013) (announcing January 31, 2014 effective date for 47 CFR § 64.2201).
17 47 CFR § 64.2201.
18 See 2013 Rural Call Completion NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 1581, para. 39 (“A major complaint by rural
representatives regarding call termination problems is ‘false audible ringing,’ in which the long-distance caller hears
prolonged ringing—and so finally hangs up—before the rural phone he called has rung at all.”).
19 Rural Call Completion Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 16200, para. 111 (footnotes omitted).
20 See 47 CFR §§ 64.2101, 64.2201(a)(2) (rule provisions apply to providers of commercial mobile radio service as
defined in § 20.3).
 
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
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10. On December 27, 2016, the Bureau issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to the Company.21 
The purpose of the LOI was to investigate whether T-Mobile violated the Commission’s Rules governing
rural call completion, including whether the Company may have provided degraded telephone service on
calls placed to rural areas and conveyed false ring tones to its customers.22  The Bureau issued a
Supplemental LOI on April 3, 2017, to clarify responses provided by the Company.23
11. With respect to ring tones, T-Mobile reported that in 2007 it began using servers that
included a “Local Ring Back Tone” (LRBT) for calls from certain customers that took more than a certain
amount of time to complete.24  The Company further reported that in 2013, as it migrated to different
servers, it began using the LRBT only for the out-of-network calls from its customers that were routed via
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks and that took more than a certain amount of time to complete, and
that it continued its practice of using the LRBT on such calls (and expanded the LRBT to cover such calls
on additional SIP routes) after the FCC rule prohibiting the practice went into effect in January 2014.25 
Because T-Mobile applied this practice to out-of-network calls from its customers on SIP routes that took
more than a certain amount of time on a nationwide basis and without regard to time of day, the LRBT
was likely injected into hundreds of millions of calls each year.26 
12. In response to an LOI inquiry requesting details of any complaints received in 2016
regarding problems with T-Mobile customer calls completing to rural areas that the Company had
received from sources independent of the Commission, T-Mobile submitted a list of complaints that had
been made directly to it by its customers and rural carriers related to problems with calls placed on behalf
of its customers completing to rural areas, some which involved concerns addressed by the Rural Call
Completion Rules.27  T-Mobile later supplemented this list.28  The Enforcement Bureau sorted these
complaints by the individual rural incumbent LEC Operating Company Numbers (OCNs) that are
published in the annual NECA list.29  In evaluating the complaint data, the Bureau found patterns of
                                                     
21 Letter of Inquiry from Jeffrey J. Gee, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau, to
John J. Legere, President and Chief Executive Officer, T-Mobile USA, Inc. (Dec. 27, 2016) (on file in EB-IHD-16-
00023247) (LOI). 
22 See id. at 1-2.
23 Supplemental Letter of Inquiry from Jeffrey J. Gee, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, FCC
Enforcement Bureau, to David H. Solomon and Russell P. Hanser, Attorneys for T-Mobile USA, Inc. (Apr. 3, 2017)
(on file in EB-IHD-16-00023247) (Supplemental LOI).
24 First Response to Supplemental Letter of Inquiry from David H. Solomon and Russell P. Hanser, Attorneys for T-
Mobile USA, Inc., to Kalun Lee, Deputy Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau at
3, (July 13, 2017) (on file in EB-IHD-16-00023247) (First Response to Supplemental LOI).
25 See id. at 3-4.
26 See id. at 5. 
27 Response to Letter of Inquiry from David H. Solomon and Russell P. Hanser, Attorneys for T-Mobile USA, Inc., to
Kalun Lee, Deputy Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau at Exhibit 2 (Feb. 9, 2017)
(on file in EB-IHD-16-00023247).  Among other things, T-Mobile’s response revealed 71 customer complaints about
problems with calls completing between June 9 and October 5, 2016, to one of the Wisconsin LECs that had filed
complaints directly with the Commission.  See id.; see also First Response to Supplemental LOI at Exhibit 1.
28 See First Response to Supplemental LOI at Exhibit 1; Second Response to Supplemental Letter of Inquiry from
David H. Solomon and Russel P. Hanser, Attorneys for T-Mobile USA, Inc., to Kalun Lee, Deputy Chief,
Investigations and Hearings Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau at Exhibits 2, 3 (Aug. 2, 2017) (on file in EB-IHD-
16-00023247).   
29 See Rural Call Completion Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 16187–88, para. 73; see also Wireline Competition Bureau
Announces Updated List of Rural and Nonrural OCNs for Rural Call Completion Reporting, Public Notice, 29 FCC
Rcd 14441 (WCB 2014).
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
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complaints alleging the failure of T-Mobile to complete calls to numbers within at least seven rural
OCNs, in addition to the three Wisconsin OCNs that had been the subject of the complaints filed with the
Commission by rural carriers and consumers during the summer of 2016. 
III. TERMS OF AGREEMENT
13. Adopting Order.  The provisions of this Consent Decree shall be incorporated by the
Bureau in an Adopting Order.
14. Jurisdiction.  T-Mobile agrees that the Bureau has jurisdiction over the Company and
the matters contained in this Consent Decree and has the authority to enter into and adopt this Consent
Decree.
15. Effective Date.  The Parties agree that this Consent Decree shall become effective on the
Effective Date as defined herein.  As of the Effective Date, the Parties agree that this Consent Decree
shall have the same force and effect as any other order of the Commission.   
16. Termination of Investigation.  In express reliance on the covenants and representations
in this Consent Decree and to avoid further expenditure of public resources, the Bureau agrees to
terminate the Investigation.  In consideration for the termination of the Investigation, and to avoid further
expense, uncertainty, and litigation, T-Mobile agrees to the terms, conditions, and procedures contained
herein.  The Bureau further agrees that, in the absence of new material evidence, it will not use the facts
developed in the Investigation through the Effective Date, or the existence of this Consent Decree, to
institute, on its own motion, any new proceeding, formal or informal, or take any action, on its own
motion, against T-Mobile concerning the matters that were the subject of the Investigation.  The Bureau
also agrees that, in the absence of new material evidence, it will not use the facts developed in the
Investigation through the Effective Date, or the existence of this Consent Decree, to institute, on its own
motion, any proceeding, formal or informal, or to set for hearing the question of T-Mobile’s basic
qualifications to be a Commission licensee or hold Commission licenses or authorizations.
17. Admission.  T-Mobile admits for the purpose of this Consent Decree and for civil
enforcement purposes in connection with this Consent Decree, and in express reliance on the provisions
of paragraph 16 herein, that it: (a) violated Section 64.2201’s prohibition against the insertion of false ring
tones; and (b) did not correct problems with its Intermediate Providers’ delivery of calls to consumers in
certain rural OCNs.
18. Compliance Officer.  Within thirty (30) calendar days after the Effective Date, T-Mobile
shall designate a senior corporate manager with the requisite corporate and organizational authority to
serve as a Compliance Officer and to discharge the duties set forth below.  The person designated as the
Compliance Officer shall be responsible for developing, implementing, and administering the Compliance
Plan and taking steps to help promote T-Mobile’s compliance with the terms and conditions of the
Compliance Plan and this Consent Decree, including the investigation and resolution of rural call
completion complaints.  In addition to the general knowledge of the Communications Laws necessary to
discharge his or her duties under this Consent Decree, the Compliance Officer shall have specific
knowledge of the Rural Call Completion Rules prior to assuming his/her duties.
19. Compliance Plan.  T-Mobile agrees that it shall, within ninety (90) calendar days after
the Effective Date, develop and implement a Compliance Plan designed to help promote future
compliance with the Rural Call Completion Rules and with the terms and conditions of this Consent
Decree.  As such, T-Mobile will implement, at a minimum, the following procedures:
(A)  Operating Procedures.  Within ninety (90) calendar days after the Effective Date,
T-Mobile shall establish Operating Procedures that all Covered Employees must follow
as relevant to their responsibilities to help promote T-Mobile’s compliance with the Rural
Call Completion Rules and this Consent Decree.  T-Mobile’s Operating Procedures shall
include internal procedures and policies specifically designed to help ensure that T-
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
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Mobile will timely investigate evidence of potential rural call completion problems about
which it knows or should know, based upon complaints of rural call completion issues
from the FCC or other regulatory agencies, customers of T-Mobile or their agents,
consumers, rural carriers, or other sources and, if T-Mobile’s investigation reveals a rural
call completion problem, that the Company will take appropriate steps to attempt to
resolve the problem.  T-Mobile shall also develop Compliance Checklists that describe
the steps that a Covered Employee must follow to help promote compliance with the
Rural Call Completion Rules. 
(B)  Dedicated Contact for Rural Call Completion Complaints.  Within ninety (90)
calendar days after the Effective Date, T-Mobile shall establish and publicize a dedicated
contact within the Company for rural carriers to contact concerning call completion
difficulties with T-Mobile phone numbers.  The contact information shall be listed in the
Service Provider Directory maintained by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry
Solutions (ATIS), which is used for carrier-to-carrier communications concerning the
resolution of technical problems, including rural call completion problems.   
(C) Compliance Manual.  Within ninety (90) calendar days after the Effective Date, the
Compliance Officer shall develop and distribute a Compliance Manual to all Covered
Employees.  The Compliance Manual shall explain the Rural Call Completion Rules and
set forth the Operating Procedures that Covered Employees shall follow to help promote
T-Mobile’s compliance with the Rural Call Completion Rules and this Consent Decree. 
T-Mobile shall periodically review and revise the Compliance Manual as necessary to
help ensure that the information set forth therein remains current and accurate.  T-Mobile
shall distribute any revisions to the Compliance Manual promptly to all Covered
Employees.  With respect to third parties that employ Covered Employees, T-Mobile
shall distribute a Compliance Manual tailored to their rural call completion
responsibilities (and any revisions), and instruct the third party to distribute the
Compliance Manual (and any revisions) accordingly.
(D) Compliance Training Program.  T-Mobile shall establish and implement a
Compliance Training Program on compliance with the Rural Call Completion Rules and
the Operating Procedures as they affect the relevant employees.  As part of the
Compliance Training Program, Covered Employees shall be advised of T-Mobile’s
obligation to report any noncompliance with the Rural Call Completion Rules under
paragraph 20 of this Consent Decree and shall be instructed on how to disclose
noncompliance to the Compliance Officer.  All Covered Employees shall be trained
pursuant to the Compliance Training Program as relevant to their responsibilities within
one hundred twenty (120) calendar days after the Effective Date, except that any person
who becomes a Covered Employee at any time after the initial Compliance Training
Program shall be trained within sixty (60) calendar days after the date such person
becomes a Covered Employee.  T-Mobile shall repeat compliance training on an annual
basis, and shall periodically review and revise the Compliance Training Program as
necessary with the goal that it remains current and complete and to enhance its
effectiveness.  With respect to third parties that employ Covered Employees, T-Mobile
shall instruct each such third party to provide such training in accordance with the
Compliance Training Program.
20. Reporting Noncompliance.  Beginning one hundred twenty (120) days after the
Effective Date, T-Mobile shall report in writing any material noncompliance with the Rural Call
Completion Rules and with the terms and conditions of this Consent Decree within thirty (30) business
days after discovery of such noncompliance.  Such reports shall include a detailed explanation of: (i) each
such instance of noncompliance; (ii) the steps that T-Mobile has taken or will take to remedy such
noncompliance; (iii) the schedule on which such remedial actions will be taken; and (iv) the steps that T-
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
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Mobile has taken or will take to prevent the recurrence of any such noncompliance.  All reports of
noncompliance shall be submitted to the Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement
Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 4-C224, Washington, DC
20554, with a copy submitted electronically to Jeffrey J. Gee at Jeffrey.Gee@fcc.gov and Robert Krinsky
at Robert.Krinsky@fcc.gov.
21. Compliance Reports.  T-Mobile shall file compliance reports with the Commission
ninety (90) calendar days after the Effective Date, twelve (12) months after the Effective Date, twenty-
four (24) months after the Effective Date, and thirty-six (36) months after the Effective Date.   
(a) Each Compliance Report shall include a detailed description of T-Mobile’s efforts
during the relevant period to comply with the terms and conditions of this Consent
Decree and the Rural Call Completion Rules.  In addition, each Compliance Report
shall include a certification by the Compliance Officer, as an agent of and on behalf
of T-Mobile, stating that the Compliance Officer has personal knowledge that  T-
Mobile:  (i) has established and implemented the Compliance Plan; (ii) has utilized
the Operating Procedures since the implementation of the Compliance Plan; and (iii)
is not aware of any instances of material noncompliance with the terms and
conditions of this Consent Decree, including the reporting obligations set forth in
paragraph 20 of this Consent Decree.
(b) The Compliance Officer’s certification shall be accompanied by a statement
explaining the basis for such certification and shall comply with Section 1.16 of the
Rules and be subscribed to as true under penalty of perjury in substantially the form
set forth therein.30
(c) If the Compliance Officer cannot provide the requisite certification, the Compliance
Officer, as an agent of and on behalf of T-Mobile, shall provide the Commission
with a detailed explanation of the reason(s) why and describe fully:  (i) each
instance of material noncompliance; (ii) the steps that T-Mobile has taken or will
take to remedy such noncompliance, including the schedule on which proposed
remedial actions will be taken; and (iii) the steps that T-Mobile has taken or will
take to prevent the recurrence of any such noncompliance, including the schedule on
which such preventive action will be taken.
(d) All Compliance Reports shall be submitted to the Chief, Investigations and Hearings
Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th
Street, SW, Room 4-C224, Washington, DC 20554, with a copy submitted
electronically to Jeffrey J. Gee at Jeffrey.Gee@fcc.gov and Robert Krinsky at
Robert.Krinsky@fcc.gov.
22. Termination Date.  The requirements set forth in paragraphs 18 through 21 of this
Consent Decree shall expire thirty-six (36) months after the Effective Date.   
23. Section 208 Complaints; Subsequent Investigations.  Nothing in this Consent Decree
shall prevent the Commission or its delegated authority from adjudicating complaints filed pursuant to
Section 208 of the Act31 against T-Mobile or its affiliates for alleged violations of the Act, or for any other
type of alleged misconduct, regardless of when such misconduct took place.  The Commission’s
adjudication of any such complaint will be based solely on the record developed in that proceeding. 
Except as expressly provided in this Consent Decree, this Consent Decree shall not prevent the
                                                     
30 47 CFR § 1.16.
31 47 U.S.C. § 208.
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
9
 
Commission from investigating new evidence of noncompliance by T-Mobile with the Communications
Laws. 
24. Civil Penalty.  T-Mobile will pay a civil penalty to the United States Treasury in the
amount of forty million dollars ($40,000,000) within thirty (30) calendar days of the Effective Date.  T-
Mobile shall send electronic notification of payment to Jeffrey J. Gee at Jeffrey.Gee@fcc.gov and Robert
Krinsky at Robert.Krinsky@fcc.gov on the date said payment is made.  The payment must be made by
check or similar instrument, wire transfer, or credit card, and must include the Account Number and FRN
referenced above.  Regardless of the form of payment, a completed FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice)
must be submitted.32  When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the Account Number in block number
23A (call sign/other ID) and enter the letters “FORF” in block number 24A (payment type code).  Below
are additional instructions that should be followed based on the form of payment selected:
• Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission.  Such payments (along with the completed Form 159) must be
mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-
9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank – Government Lockbox #979088,
SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.
• Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank
TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001.  To complete the wire transfer and ensure
appropriate crediting of the wired funds, a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank
at (314) 418-4232 on the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.
• Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit card information on
FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159 to authorize the credit card payment. 
The completed Form 159 must then be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O.
Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank –
Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO
63101.
Questions regarding payment procedures should be addressed to the Financial Operations Group Help
Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by e-mail, ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.
25. Waivers.  As of the Effective Date, T-Mobile waives any and all rights it may have to
seek administrative or judicial reconsideration, review, appeal or stay, or to otherwise challenge or contest
the validity of this Consent Decree and the Adopting Order.  T-Mobile shall retain the right to challenge
Commission interpretation of the Consent Decree or any terms contained herein.  If either Party (or the
United States on behalf of the Commission) brings a judicial action to enforce the terms of the Consent
Decree or the Adopting Order, neither T-Mobile nor the Commission shall contest the validity of the
Consent Decree or the Adopting Order, and T-Mobile shall waive any statutory right to a trial de novo. 
T-Mobile hereby agrees to waive any claims it may otherwise have under the Equal Access to Justice
Act33 relating to the matters addressed in this Consent Decree.
26. Severability.  The Parties agree that if any of the provisions of the Consent Decree shall
be held unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, such unenforceability shall not render
unenforceable the entire Consent Decree, but rather the entire Consent Decree shall be construed as if not
containing the particular unenforceable provision or provisions, and the rights and obligations of the
Parties shall be construed and enforced accordingly.
                                                     
32 An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be obtained at
http://www.fcc.gov/forms#159.pdf.
33 See 5 U.S.C. § 504; 47 CFR §§ 1.1501–1.1530.
 Federal Communications Commission DA 18-373
 
 
10
 
27. Invalidity.  In the event that this Consent Decree in its entirety is rendered invalid by any
court of competent jurisdiction, it shall become null and void and may not be used in any manner in any
legal proceeding.
28. Subsequent Rule or Order.  The Parties agree that if any provision of the Consent
Decree conflicts with any subsequent Rule or Order adopted by the Commission (except an Order
specifically intended to revise the terms of this Consent Decree to which T-Mobile does not expressly
consent) that provision will be superseded by such Rule or Order.  Nothing in this Consent Decree shall
be construed to affect T-Mobile’s duties under the Rural Call Completion Rules, including those
concerning its Intermediate Providers.
29. Successors and Assigns.  T-Mobile agrees that the provisions of this Consent Decree
shall be binding on its successors, assigns, and transferees.
30. Final Settlement.  The Parties agree and acknowledge that this Consent Decree shall
constitute a final settlement between the Parties with respect to the Investigation.
31. Modifications.  This Consent Decree cannot be modified without the advance written
consent of both Parties.
32. Paragraph Headings.  The headings of the paragraphs in this Consent Decree are
inserted for convenience only and are not intended to affect the meaning or interpretation of this Consent
Decree.
33. Authorized Representative.  Each Party represents and warrants to the other that it has
full power and authority to enter into this Consent Decree.  Each person signing this Consent Decree on
behalf of a Party hereby represents that he or she is fully authorized by the Party to execute this Consent
Decree and to bind the Party to its terms and conditions.
34. Counterparts.  This Consent Decree may be signed in counterpart (including
electronically or by facsimile).  Each counterpart, when executed and delivered, shall be an original, and
all of the counterparts together shall constitute one and the same fully executed instrument.
 
 
 
________________________________
Christopher L. Killion
Acting Deputy Bureau Chief
Enforcement Bureau
 
 
________________________________
Date
 
 
 
________________________________
Kathleen O’Brien Ham
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
T-Mobile USA, Inc. 
 
________________________________
Date
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