Google reduces Nexus One ETF after FCC inquiry

Google has chopped $200 off of its "equipment recovery fee" for its Nexus One smartphone, a move that comes just two weeks after the FCC questioned Google and other wireless carriers about their early termination fee (ETF) policies.

The company dropped the fee from $350 to $150. The charge is levied against customers who cancel their service within 120 days of buying the phone, which Google offers via its new online store. The Google fee is separate from the $200 ETF charged by T-Mobile USA for customers who buy the phone on contract (T-Mobile so far is the only carrier offering the Nexus One).

"Google's overall financial philosophy with regard to operator service plans remains unchanged: We make no profit from commissions from operators or from equipment recovery fees, and our recovery fees are based on operator charges to Google for early termination of service," the company said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. Google had been working with T-Mobile to lower the equipment recovery fee, according to the report.

The FCC late last month sent letters to the four major Tier 1 carriers and Google, asking them to explain in detail their ETF policies for handsets. The probe is part of the commission's larger truth-in-billing inquiry.

In other Nexus One news, Google now offers live customer support via phone for Nexus One customers. When Google launched the Nexus One in early January, the search giant was criticized for not having live, on-call customer support services.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Google page
- see this Engadget post
- see this Google page

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