AT&T To Pay $2M on Poaching Claims

Dallas company admits no wrongdoing.

The Justice Department says AT&T agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle allegations that it poached wireless customers in service areas it was required to sell.

In 2007, the department ordered AT&T to sell two service areas in Kentucky and one in Oklahoma to get approval for its acquisition of cellular carrier Dobson Communications.

Those areas were to be operated independently pending the sale, but the Justice Department said AT&T employees obtained access to information about customers in the area, and used that to win them over to the company. Dallas-based AT&T also waived early termination fees for wireless contracts so customers would sign up with the company, the petition said.

AT&T spokesman Michael Coe says the company is happy to resolve the issue and had not admitted to any wrongdoing.

AT&T sold the Kentucky service areas to Verizon Wireless and the Oklahoma area to MTPCS LLC, which uses the Cellular One brand.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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