The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) conducted an investigation on Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. The FCC staff ran speed and coverage tests in rural areas around the country to assess whether consumers in these areas were receiving sufficient download speeds. The FCC concluded that Verizon and T-Mobile over-exaggerated their 4G coverage maps to trick current customers as well as potential customers into believing 4G and fast downloading speeds were available in their area. Staff were unable to receive any 4G signal in 21.3% of T-Mobile’s tests and 16.2% of Verizon’s tests.
In the report the FCC said “Overstating mobile broadband coverage misleads the public and can misallocate our limited universal service funds, and thus it must be met with meaningful consequences.” They also recommended that they assemble a team to ensure the accuracy of mobile broadband maps. T-Mobile stood by its maps but said that they agree with the fact that there is room to improve their procedures and coverage maps.
The FCC will not be punishing the mobile carriers at all because they could not find a “sufficiently clear violation”. Instead, they will send out an advisory reminder to the entire industry that they could be punished for exaggerating their coverage maps. The commission also decided to drop it’s $4.5 billion Mobility Fund due to the overstated coverage maps discovered.