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Date: 01/14/2009 (Date of Civil Contempt Order)
Misconduct Type: Other
Enforcement Agency: FCC
Contracting Party: None
Court Type: Civil
Synopsis: AT&T agreed to pay more than $2 million as part of a civil settlement with the Department of Justice to resolve AT&T’s alleged violations of two court orders entered in connection with AT&T’s acquisition of Dobson Communications Corporation. Under a March 2008 consent decree, AT&T was required to divest mobile wireless telecommunications businesses in three rural service areas. Under the consent decree and a related court order, AT&T was required to ensure that the divested businesses were operated independently of AT&T and that AT&T did not influence how they were managed. AT&T was also required to preserve the confidentiality of information material to the operation of the divested businesses and not give unauthorized personnel access to such information. The government alleged AT&T failed to separate confidential customer account information of the divested businesses from its own customer records and to take other actions needed to prevent unauthorized disclosure. As a result, AT&T personnel obtained unauthorized access to the divested businesses’ competitively sensitive customer information and in some situations used it to solicit and win away the divested businesses’ customers. The government also alleged that AT&T, without authorization, waived early termination fees for several customers of the divested businesses to facilitate switching their wireless service from the divested businesses to AT&T.