FCC quizzed over Sprint, T-Mobile merger approval - Mobile World Live

FCC quizzed over Sprint, T-Mobile merger approval

17 DEC 2019

US politicians expressed concerns members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) altered the regulator’s analysis of T-Mobile US and Sprint’s proposed merger to downplay the potential impact on competition.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Congressmen Frank Pallone and Jerrold Nadler criticised the agency for a “troubling lack of transparency and an apparent lack of appropriate process” in its review.

Specifically, they faulted the regulator for allowing T-Mobile to submit filings with insufficient detail about discussions with commission staff, and refusing to reopen the matter to public comment after conditions involving Dish Network became part of the deal.

The pair asked the FCC to turn over all drafts of its merger approval order and indicate whether it is investigating T-Mobile’s compliance with filing regulations.

Trial
The request comes as Sprint and T-Mobile wage a court battle against more than a dozen state attorney generals opposing the tie up.

Trial arguments focused on competition, including whether Sprint could continue to be an effective market force without the deal.

Advocacy group Inner City Press noted in a series of tweets Sprint chairman Marcelo Claure testified the operator “can’t keep up” and would likely be relegated to a regional player if the merger fails. T-Mobile CEO John Legere warned Sprint would probably be “sold for parts” without the deal, Kansas City Business Journal reported.

In a research note, analysts at LightShed Partners said T-Mobile had “done a good job challenging” assertions the deal would harm competition, adding investors may have underestimated T-Mobile’s ability to prevail in court.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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