The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has levied a fine of $200 million on leading US wireless providers for illegally selling customer location data.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has levied a fine of $200 million on leading US wireless providers for illegally selling customer location data.## Major US Wireless Carriers Fined $200 Million by FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has sanctioned major US mobile carriers with a massive fine amounting to $200 million. The fine comes as a result of unauthorizedly selling user location data. The organizations implicated in this case are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

The Fine Breakdown

AT&T has been mandated to pay $57 million and Verizon is required to pay $47 million. Sprint and T-Mobile, which amalgamated two years prior, are now dealing with a penalty totaling $92 million. This penalty arises from a detailed examination by the FCC into these carriers’ illicit disclosure and sale of real-time location data of their subscribers.

Illicit Sale of Location Data

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel reports that the carriers were selling “instantaneous location data to data-gathering firms, enabling this highly confidential data to end up in the possession of bail bond entities, bounty seekers, and other dubious entities.” This scheme was divulged after public reports surfaced that a sheriff in Missouri was tracing many individuals using location info from Securus. Securus provides communications solutions to detention centers nationwide.

The Consequences

Despite assuring the FCC that they would cease selling consumer location data, the carriers persisted with their actions for a whole year. They conducted operations without adequate precautionary measures to confirm that valid services accessing their customers’ data, like roadside help and medical emergency services, were truly procuring users’ consent for location tracking.

The companies have announced their plan to contest the fines imposed. T-Mobile, which faces the heaviest penalty valued at $80 million – Sprint was penalized with a $12 million fine – claimed it was exorbitant. AT&T disputed that the decision was devoid of “legal and factual merit” and it “ironically penalises [the companies] for endorsing potentially life-saving location services.”


This case underlines the significance of privacy and approval in the digital era. Even though location data can be employed for useful services, it’s paramount that companies get unambiguous consent from users before accessing and selling such sensitive details. The severe fines implemented by the FCC act as a stern admonition to all businesses to respect user privacy and comply with data safeguarding regulations.

Questions and Answers

Q1: What is the cumulative fine the FCC enforced on the US wireless carriers?
A1: The FCC enforced a cumulative fine of $200 million on the major US wireless carriers.

Q2: Which company was penalized the most?
A2: T-Mobile received the highest penalty, worth $80 million.

Q3: What instigated the fine?
A3: The fine was instigated by the illicit sale of customer location data by these carriers.

Q4: Did the companies cease their activities after pledging to the FCC?
A4: No, the carriers continued their activities for a year despite pledging to stop to the FCC.

Q5: How did the companies respond to the fines?
A5: The companies plan to challenge the fines, arguing that they are exorbitant and have no legal or factual basis.