Mobile carriers like to play fast and loose with the word "unlimited" when it comes to data plans. They're often technically unlimited, but only fast enough to be useful until you hit a certain barrier. MVNOs operated by TracFone including Net10 and Straight Talk were a little more shady than most, and that led to today's FTC announcement of a $40 million fine against the company.
If you're a hotel manager, especially at a big, fancy hotel where people can expect to pay a convenience fee for running water, you might be tempted to charge an iniquitous amount of money for your guests to access the Internet. Your guests, in turn, might tell you to suck it and use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature built into just about every new smartphone being sold today. That might make you turn around and consider doing something drastic, like, say, implement an elaborate system of jammers to block or spoof signals and make personal Wi-Fi devices useless. Read More
Bombastic T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded forcefully when the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against the Un-carrier over the summer for profiting from so-called "cramming." That's when a carrier allows third-parties to add premium SMS charges to customer bills without proper warning. Today the FTC has announced T-Mobile is settling the case for $90 million, most of which will go to customers who were charged for unauthorized services.
Around a year and a half ago, Google removed access to paid apps from the Taiwanese Play Store after a complaint was issued claiming that the company violated a local law demanding a seven day return window. A surprisingly short court battle ensued and 8 months later Mountain View walked away with a $34k fine (you read that right), and a losing appeal. The company opted, at that point, to simply remain out of the Taiwanese market. Read More
Let this be a lesson to all major tech companies: if you have a ton of users and you want to enter a new market, you'd better charge some kind of arbitrary fee, lest you end up in trouble with the French judicial system. Google is feeling that sting this week, as a French court ordered the company to pay €500,000 in damages to Maps competitor Bottin Cartographs as well as a €15,000 fine. Read More