AT&T agreed to pay the federal government $700,000 and offer refunds to customers for mistakenly forcing smartphone users into monthly data plans. In late 2009, AT&T began to require new smartphone customers to subscribe to monthly data plans. Existing subscribers with pay-per-use plans or no plan at all had to get a monthly plan when they upgraded to a new smartphone but the requirement wasn't supposed to apply when subscribers replaced a lost or broken phone through an insurance program or warranty, or if they moved. AT&T Inc. now must offer to restore the older plans.
Black Box Corp., a Lawrenceville-based digital communications company, has been awarded a $97.3 million contract to modernize the U.S. Army's communication technologies in Korea. The company will serve as industry partner for the Army's Yongsan Relocation Plan.
GNC Holdings on Wednesday reported that stakeholders Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Ares Corporate Opportunities Fund II are offering their 11.7 million shares of GNC stock, according to Bloomberg News and Briefing.com. The offering is expected to close Nov. 13. Pittsburgh-based GNC stock on Wednesday closed down 61 cents at $35.71.
The Hershey Co. has won approval to tear down part of the chocolate factory built by founder Milton Hershey following the shifting of production across town. The Derry Township Design Review Board approved the chocolate maker's plan to tear down much of the East Chocolate Avenue building, leaving behind the iconic smokestacks and bushes that spell out "Hershey Cocoa."
Americans took out more student and auto loans in September to boost consumer borrowing to a record level. But they cut back on credit card borrowing. Total consumer borrowing rose $11.4 billion in September compared with August, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Total consumer debt outstanding, which excludes mortgages and other housing-related borrowing, stands at $2.74 trillion -- the highest level on record.
Microsoft is scrapping its instant-messaging program and forcing most users to switch to Skype. Maintaining Windows Live Messenger made less sense after Microsoft Corp. bought Skype for $8.5 billion last year.
Sprint Nextel Corp. on Wednesday said it has agreed to buy U.S. Cellular Corp.'s service areas in the Midwest for $480 million to boost its network capacity in that region. Sprint is adding 585,000 customers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. U.S. Cellular said 980 jobs will be lost with the sale, which is subject to regulatory approval.