T-Mobile has been hit with a massive $17.5 million fine from the FCC for not allowing customers to call 911 for more than a 3-hour window over the summer in 2014.

T-Mobile has been dealt yet another blow to their credibility as a legitimate contender in the cell phone market in the United States. Instead of bad service though, the recent allegations suggest that users weren’t allowed to make 911 calls for a period of time in 2014. The instance, which happened over the summer, and impacted nearly all of T-Mobiles users, was something that had a profound impact on business, and an even bigger impact on their users.

The FCC said that T-Mobile users were unable to make 911 calls for a period of at least three hours due to a failure in their network, which resulted in a massive fine. In this case, it marked the biggest fine that the FCC had ever issued a major name in the cell phone industry here in the U.S. However, it is a move that didn’t surprise users at all. The carrier has been criticized for years for having amongst the worst coverage in the U.S. and regularly has ranked in the bottom two in terms of coverage.

According to the FCC, the tipping point was a statistic. They found that more than 70% of all 911 calls are made via mobile devices. Removing the ability or individuals to make emergency phone calls from their mobile devices seriously challenges the long-term benefit of a mobile device. After all, we may use our mobile devices for far more than just phone calls – but making an emergency phone call is by far the most important function of the mobile device.

T-Mobile isn’t the only mobile communications company to get hit with this type of fine, though. The FCC fined Verizon $3.4 million in a similar suit, which alleged that California users were unable to reach 911 for an extended period of time, as well. Again, the size of the settlement is different, but the scale of this particular network failure was something that weighed heavily into the FCC’s decision.

It was noted that over 6,600 calls to 911 were missed thanks to this faulty network. Everything from domestic disputes, assaults, car accidents, and much more were missed because of this, and a major problem when it came down to defending T-Mobile. At this juncture, the thing simply doesn’t look good for the bottom feeders of the mobile world – as T-Mobile and Sprint both flounder in a variety of ways against the big dogs of the mobile industry.

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