Photo: Joan Cros Garcia - Corbis/Contributor/Getty Images

AT&T agreed to pay $60 million on Tuesday to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company misled unlimited data plan customers when it slowed their speeds.

Driving the news: The $60 million will go into a fund that AT&T will use to provide partial refunds to both current and former customers who signed up for unlimited plans before 2011 and had their data speeds slowed by AT&T. The FTC said the carrier throttled the speeds of 3.5 million customers, per its complaint.

  • The settlement also requires the company to prominently disclose any future restrictions on speed or the amount of data within its mobile plans.

Background: AT&T faced complaints from both the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission. The agencies claim the company failed to adequately inform smartphone customers with unlimited data plans that, if they reached a certain amount of data use in a billing cycle, their speeds would be reduced to the point that many applications would be difficult to use.

  • The FTC filed its complaint in 2014, and won a victory at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals when AT&T argued the agency lacked jurisdiction over the telecom company.

What they're saying:

Andrew Smith, director of the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau, said AT&T failed to deliver on its promise of unlimited data. Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra, who supported the settlement, described the case as an example of how a dominant firm can cheat customers.

  • "AT&T baited subscribers with promises of unlimited data, trapped them in multi-year contracts with punishing termination fees, and then scammed them by choking off their access unless they moved to a more expensive plan," Chopra said in a statement.

An AT&T spokesperson said the company disagrees with Chopra's "baseless characterization" of the case. "None of his allegations were ever proved in court," AT&T said in a statement. "We were fully prepared to defend ourselves, but decided settling was in the best interests of consumers.”

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.