Sprint pays $19M to settle lawsuit on messaging charges

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Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will pay $19 million to settle a lawsuit from customers nationwide claiming that the carrier improperly charged them for sending picture messages.

The nation's No. 3 carrier entered into the settlement to resolve claims from customers who said they were on Sprint's unlimited "Everything Messaging" plans and were charged separately for picture messaging. The customers accused Sprint of not telling them about the charges, or how they could use their phones to avoid the charges. 

"While we maintain our position and deny all claims, we decided that it is in the best interest of our business and our customers to settle this case," Sprint spokeswoman Stephanie Vinge told FierceWireless.

According to a Reuters report, the settlement covers customers from January 2008 to June 2012, and customers have the option of receiving free service, fee waivers, credit adjustments, gift cards or cash. The settlement requires court approval and a hearing to consider preliminary approval is scheduled for July 16.

Though carriers' MMS messaging revenues are under attack by free services from the likes of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, it is still a big business. According to a CTIA survey released in April, the number of MMS messages sent and received as of December 2011 slid by 4.4 billion to 52.8 billion vs. 56.6 billion in December 2010.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

Special Report: SMS: The dying cash cow for wireless carriers?

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