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Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

T-Mobile will pay a $200 million civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury to resolve an investigation into whether Sprint was illegitimately drawing excess subsidies from the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline phone program for low-income consumers.

Why it matters: It's the largest fixed-amount settlement the FCC has ever received to settle an investigation, the agency noted in its Wednesday announcement.

  • Sprint, as a subsidiary of T-Mobile after the two companies merged earlier this year, is now also under a consent decree with the FCC to hold it to better comply with the rules of the Lifeline program.

Background: The FCC's enforcement bureau has been investigating reports that Sprint, prior to its merger with T-Mobile, was claiming monthly subsidies for about 885,000 Lifeline subscribers who weren't actually using the service.

  • Lifeline is a federal program that makes phone and broadband more affordable for low-income Americans. Participating providers get a $9.25 subsidy per subscriber.

Go deeper

7 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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