Rural Wireless Association Wants Court to Deny T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

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The Rural Wireless Association pressed a federal court to reject a Department of Justice proposed agreement with T-Mobile and Sprint and deny the carriers’ proposed transaction. The RWA represents rural wireless carriers who each serve fewer than 100,000 subscribers.

The proposed acquisition of Sprint by T-Mobile will have “a detrimental effect on both rural consumers and all Americans traveling in rural America in their pursuit to obtain adequate and affordable rural mobile wireless service coverage,” says the RWA in comments filed with the District Court in Washington, D.C. 

The trade group doesn’t believe the DOJ’s plan for T-Mobile to help Dish create a fourth national wireless network competitor will work. 

“Starting up a facilities-based nationwide carrier from scratch is not for the faint of heart,” writes the RWA. “Given that nationwide carriers have had decades to provide nationwide facilities-based services, expecting Dish to be able to do so in less than seven years and step into the shoes of Sprint, is unrealistic and belies credibility.”

The fact that Dish is completely reliant on the New T-Mobile network and the wholesale pricing set by the carrier, with no oversight by the court, leaves massive room for price manipulation, according to the trade association. “Such barriers, along with lackluster enforcement measures agreed to by DOJ, create a scenario in which Dish would be better off biding its time, operating only as a MNVO, and then selling its spectrum at a later date rather than investing the tens of billions of dollars required to become a fourth nationwide facilities based carrier akin to Sprint,” says the RWA.

The RWA also said its new Rural National Security Council recently held its first meeting to discuss its advocacy strategy; it’s focused on national security issues related to the communications network supply chain. 

October 15, 2019

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