T-Mobile US issued a request for California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to ease three major conditions it set the operator when agreeing to approve its merger with Sprint, including the removal of a requirement to add 1,000 new employees.

In a notice sent to the regulator, T-Mobile argued “the imposition of a specific hiring mandate is inconsistent with regulatory authority”, while also highlighting the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis.

The operator said the condition to add 1,000 employees should be modified because of the major consequences the ongoing pandemic “has had on the economy and the long-term effects it may have on companies like T-Mobile over the next several years”.

In addition, T-Mobile asked for its 5G speed target and coverage requirements across the state and in rural areas to be moved from end-2023 to the close of 2026.

It added the requirement to deliver download speeds of at least 100Mb/s by end-2023 and increase these to 300Mb/s for at least 93 per cent of the population by end-2024 would require a speed jump three-fold in one year, which it indicted may not even be “feasible”.

Finally, it said it is already subject to two independent testing programmes for its 5G buildout and it wants a requirement to be subject to a third removed, arguing it would be “burdensome”.

California was one of T-Mobile’s biggest challengers when pushing through its merger with Sprint. Indeed, even after announcing the completion of the deal in April this year, approval from CPUC was still outstanding.

Once the regulator’s review was complete, the operator did not confirm or deny plans to challenge the terms.