The FCC on Monday released a document in which it proposes to fine T-Mobile USA for $819,000. The government body said that T-Mobile USA violated specific sections of the FCC’s rules that require U.S. wireless carriers to offer a specific number of phones that are compatible with hearing aids. “We further find that this apparent misconduct persistent for the two-year period, 2009, 2010,” the FCC said. “Specifically, T-Mobile, a nationwide wireless carrier with more than 33 million customers and more than $21 billion dollars in annual revenue, apparently failed to offer the required number of hearing aid-compatible digital wireless handset models as set forth in the Rules. These hearing aid compatibility requirements serve to ensure that consumers with hearing loss have access to advanced telecommunications services.”
The FCC originally issued the Hearing Aid Compatibility Order in 2003, which said, by 2010, that carriers had to offer at least 10 handsets (or 50% of all phones) that support acoustic coupling and 7 handsets (or 33% of all phones) with support for inductive coupling. T-Mobile USA admitted in October, 2010 that there were “possible hearing aid-compatible handset deployment violations” during the year. According to the FCC, T-Mobile failed to offer enough hearing-aid compatible handsets during 7 months out of the year.
UPDATE: TechnoBuffalo reached out to T-Mobile USA and received the following statement on the matter: “T-Mobile USA is committed to providing high-quality products and services to all of its customers, including a broad selection of handsets that are hearing aid compatible. T-Mobile takes seriously its obligations to comply with its hearing aid compatibility responsibilities as part of our overall commitment to the accessibility needs of our customers.”