Today is Critical in States’ Effort to Block T-Mobile-Sprint Deal

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UPDATE Lawyers for the 13 Attorneys General of 12 states and the District of Columbia are moving forward with their litigation to block T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint. Filed before the carrier’s deal with the Department of Justice was announced, the AGs originally asked a federal court for an expedited trial date. The trial is set to begin October 7. 

Today, during a status hearing in New York, the states will ask the court to delay the trial. That will give the states time to revise their case to account for the DOJ’s proposal, reports The Hill.

The DOJ last Friday approved a merger that would require T-Mobile and Sprint to spin off significant assets to Dish, in order for the satellite television distributor to create a competing fourth major, nationwide mobile wireless network. While five state AGs eventually sided with the DOJ on the transaction, the 13 holdouts did not.

Critics point out that even with the conditions, Dish will be in the position of building a wireless network from scratch. New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra are leading the 13 state AGs in their lawsuit.

“We will continue to evaluate the details as they come in, but we remain concerned that this deal continues to be bad for consumers, bad for innovation and bad for workers,” James said after the DOJ announcement, reports The Hill. “Dish is really not in a position to serve as a competitor,” James added.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen refuted the criticism, saying Dish faced the same thing when it entered the satellite TV market in 1995. “As a new entrant, Dish encountered many skeptics who questioned our ability to succeed. As we enter the wireless business, we will again serve customers by disrupting incumbents and their legacy networks, this time with the nation’s first 5G broadband network,” Ergen emphasized.

The T-Mobile–Sprint transaction is not a done deal, critics emphasized to The Hill. The DOJ’s agreement with the companies still has to go through an approval process in the D.C. Circuit Court. Additionally, the FCC still has not released or voted on the order that would officially approve the transaction, though senior FCC officials told reporters last week the staff is working to update the order to include Dish’s involvement, Inside Towers reported. 

August 1, 2019                  

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