T-Mobile agrees to $350 million data breach settlement

Photo (c) KathyDewar - Getty Images

Records of more than 76 million customers were exposed in the 2021 incident

T-Mobile has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit stemming from last year’s data breach that exposed the records of an estimated 76.6 million customers.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, the telecom firm disclosed a proposed settlement that it said is subject to preliminary and final court approval. If approved by the court, T-Mobile would write checks totaling $350 million to lawyers and affected customers.

“The Company anticipates that, upon court approval, the settlement will provide a full release of all claims arising out of the cyberattack by class members, who do not opt-out, against all defendants, including the Company, its subsidiaries and affiliates, and its directors and officers,” T-Mobile said in the filing. “The settlement contains no admission of liability, wrongdoing or responsibility by any of the defendants.”

Despite what seems like a big settlement number, affected customers might not get all that much. According to the tech site Mashable, the payout could be as little as $5 per customer after lawyers and other legal expenses have been paid.

Sensitive data compromised

T-Mobile reported the breach in August 2021. At the time, it said compromised information included customers’ first and last names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license/ID information. 

In an August 2021, SEC filing, the carrier said phone numbers and IMEI and IMSI details – identifiers for mobile devices and SIM cards, respectively – were also compromised.

At the time, T-Mobile maintained that it had "no indication" that affected customers’ financial details were exposed. The company said its investigation into the breach would continue and that additional details would be provided as they emerged.

As part of the proposed settlement, T-Mobile said it would spend $150 billion to improve the security of its network servers.

It could be December or later before T-Mobile begins sending out checks. The company must determine the exact number of people affected by the breach and begin contacting them. 

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