Satellite operator Dish Network argued Sprint and T-Mobile US exaggerated the benefits of their proposed merger, as it called for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the deal.

In a more than 250-page petition, Dish Network said the pair have oversold the deal’s impact on 5G progress, pointing out both operators have already announced plans to push ahead with deployments individually. It also contested T-Mobile and Sprint’s portrayal of a diverse competitive market, noting MVNOs lack real power and “only facilities-based providers, who have both access to spectrum and the infrastructure to use it, can create capacity, upgrade networks or extend their network coverage”.

Contrary to T-Mobile and Sprint’s claims the merger will boost competition and lower prices for consumers, Dish Network argued incentives for T-Mobile to remain a disruptive force in the market will be reduced post merger, stating “economic analysis and empirical data demonstrate…significant price increases” would likely follow.

Not alone
A number of others including the Rural Wireless Association; NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association; cable operators Frontier Communications and Windstream Services; and the Communications Workers of America trade union also filed statements opposing the deal.

Cable operator Altice USA, which plans to enter the wireless market in 2019 via an MVNO agreement with Sprint, highlighted potential negative impacts on MVNOs: Sprint and T-Mobile have “made no tangible commitments regarding meaningful support for current MVNO partners”, it noted.

C Spire, the nation’s sixth-largest wireless operator, warned the merger could make it more difficult for rural operators to secure reasonably priced roaming agreements.

The flurry of filings were a response to an FCC consultation which ran to 27 August and forms part of its merger review process.

Evaluations are also being conducted by the Department of Justice, along with state authorities in New York and California.