T-Mobile to pay $200 million to settle allegations of Sprint Lifeline subsidy fraud

T-Mobile will pay $200 million to settle an FCC investigation into allegations that Sprint fraudulently received millions of dollars in federal subsidies by falsely claiming it provided Lifeline service to 885,000 inactive subscribers. Lifeline is a beneficial federal program that provides low-income Americans access to free or affordable phone and broadband services.

Last year, CWA urged the FCC to pause the T-Mobile-Sprint merger review pending an investigation into Sprint's alleged fraud and abuse of the Lifeline program. “This alleged fraud calls into question the character of Sprint as a licensee,” said Debbie Goldman, former CWA Research and Telecommunications Policy Director in 2019. “FCC precedent is clear that a company cannot sell a license until the character issue is investigated and resolved.” T-Mobile closed its $26 billion merger with Sprint in April 2020. 

Links:

T-Mobile shells out $200M to settle FCC subsidy probe (Mobile World Live, Nov. 4, 2020)

CWA: FCC must pause T-Mobile-Sprint merger review pending investigation into Sprint’s Lifeline program fraud (Speed Matters, Sep. 24, 2019)