T-Mobile-Sprint Deal Reportedly Gets Majority Votes at FCC

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T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint has reportedly received its third Republican “yes” vote at the FCC, two sources told Bloomberg. The vote from Commissioner Brendan Carr means the agency will move forward on formally approving the deal soon, according to the account.

The action sets in motion procedures that would require FCC movement by this Wednesday, October 9, or October 16, if a Commissioner seeks an extension, according to sources. 

Neither of the agency’s Democrats has voted; both have called for delay, citing the FCC’s accusation that Sprint improperly accepted Lifeline subsidies, Inside Towers reported.

The Rural Wireless Association, the Communications Workers of America and Consumer Reports on Friday asked the Commission to pause its merger review, Bloomberg reported. They too, said the agency needs to investigate its accusation, which the Enforcement Bureau is handling. 

At the time, Sprint said it didn’t intend to defraud the government. A spokeswoman said the issue was the result of an error after the FCC implemented new rules in 2016. Sprint is working on a fix, according to the carrier.

Carr’s office on Friday didn’t respond to Bloomberg requests for comment. FCC spokeswoman Tina Pelkey declined to comment, as did Sprint.

T-Mobile and Sprint won’t close their deal until after a verdict in a multi-state lawsuit, where trial is set for early December. Pennsylvania just joined the suit, making 18 states that oppose the deal, Inside Towers reported. The states say the combination of national wireless carriers will decrease competition and raise prices. The deal’s backers say it will quickly bring 5G networks and create a fourth carrier to rival AT&T, Verizon and the “new” T-Mobile.

October 7, 2019   

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