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TracFone settles with FTC

The nation’s largest prepaid mobile provider, TracFone Wireless, will pay $40 million to settle government claims that it misled millions of smartphone customers with promises of unlimited data service. The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that TracFone’s advertising promised unlimited data, but the company then drastically slowed down consumers’ data speeds — a practice known as throttling — when they had used a certain amount of data within a 30-day period. In some cases, the FTC said, the company cut off customers’ data service when they ran over the limit. TracFone’s prepaid wireless service is sold under various brands, including Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile and Telcel America. “The issue here is simple: Unlimited means unlimited,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau, in a call with reporters. “This case is about false advertising.”