Democrats, including three presidential candidates, want FCC to delay vote on T-Mobile-Sprint – PhoneArena

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Democrats, including three presidential candidates, want FCC to delay vote on T-Mobile-Sprint – PhoneArena

Back in May,

after T-Mobile agreed to a bunch of conditions

(including a three-year price freeze and a promise to cover 97% of the country with low-band 5G signals within three years), FCC Chairman Ait Pai said that he would recommend that his fellow commissioners

sign off on the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already approved the deal after setting up Dish Network to replace Sprint as the “fourth nationwide facilities-based network competitor.” With the FCC vote due soon, several Democrats are asking the FCC to delay the tally so that the public has a chance to comment on it. Considering that Pai is a Trump appointee and has shown loyalty to the president, we don’t expect any delay to take place.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) wrote a letter to the FCC

(via

The Verge

) asking the agency to delay voting on the $26.5 billion merger until the public has the opportunity to comment on it. Klobuchar has supported the lawsuit filed by 15 state attorneys general and the AG of Washington D.C. that seeks to block the deal. A trial is slated to begin on December 9th, and both wireless operators have reportedly begun very preliminary settlement talks in an attempt to get the suit dropped. However, one person with knowledge of the talks

says that both sides are “miles apart.” Senator Klobuchar’s letter is also signed by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

T-Mobile wants Sprint’s mid-range 2.5GHz spectrum to help it build out its 5G network

“As we have previously stated, we have major antitrust concerns regarding the impact of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger on consumers, competition, and the public interest,” the senators wrote. “We remain concerned about the lack of transparency in the FCC’s merger review process and the lack of certainty on whether this merger will protect competition and consumers…The risk posed to consumers if Dish Network fails to compete effectively or build its new wireless business is substantial. Therefore, the public deserves the opportunity to evaluate and comment on this proposal as part of the FCC review process.

For these reasons, we urge the FCC to issue a public notice and seek public comment on the proposed merger as altered by the Consent Decree and the terms set forth in Dish’s extension request letter prior to its consideration of the merger to determine if this transaction is in the public interest. The public should be able to trust that the FCC’s process is fair, transparent, and based on a thorough examination of all of the relevant evidence.”-Excerpt from Senator Klobuchar’s letter

T-Mobile would like to merge with Sprint in order to obtain the latter’s hoard of mid-range 2.5GHz spectrum. By adding the mid-range airwaves to its low-frequency 600MHz holdings and its mmWave spectrum, T-Mobile hopes to be the first wireless operator in the U.S. to complete the build-out of a nationwide 5G network sometime next year. Just in case the merger does not close, the carrier has reportedly been asking the FCC to auction off some mid-band spectrum in the 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz range. Because it is the fastest-growing of the major U.S. wireless providers, T-Mobile won’t be as negatively affected as Sprint or Dish Network if the deal cannot overcome the obstacles that have been thrown in its way.

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