Feeds

FCC questions Verizon's early termination fees

Wants info on 'accidental' data charges too

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

US regulators are demanding that Verizon Wireless explain why it's doubling early termination fees for smartphone customers and why subscribers without a data plan are charged for inadvertently accessing its mobile web service.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent an open letter on Friday to the country's largest mobile phone company asking it to provide details on the policies.

Last month, Verizon hiked the early termination fee for "advanced devices" from $175 to $350.

Verizon had said that the extra charge was needed to help recoup costs of free or discounted smartphones.

The FCC wants to know what information about the higher early termination fee is provided to prospective customers, and whether customers are provided a grace period in which they can discontinue the service without being hit with the full $350 charge.

Verizon's policy does let customers who agree to pay full price for a smartphone to avoid paying a full early termination fee. Smartphones such as the BlackBerry or Droid that are discounted under a service contract are subject to the $350 fee for bailing out early.

The FCC also requested that Verizon provide details on its policy of charging customers $1.99 for accidentally accessing Verizon Wireless's Mobile Web without a data plan.

The Commission points to a recent report in the New York Times that suggested the company is using shady tactics to profit from customers who accidentally push a dedicated Mobile Web button on Verizon phones. The NYT article cites a person who claims to work for Verizon admitting that the company purposefully places the button in a location where customers are likely to inadvertently activate it. Any data sent over the mobile web network results in a minimum charge of $1.99.

Verizon was given until December 17 to respond to the FCC. A copy of the letter is available here (PDF) ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.