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If there’s one hot topic in the world of U.S. carriers right now, it’s the rumored takeover of T-Mobile by Japanese carrier, Softbank. Only last year, the company bought a controlling stake in Sprint. And if speculation is to be believed, it’s got its focussed aimed squarely at T-Mobile, currently owned by Deutsche Telekom (mostly).
Today, the CWA – or Communications Workers of America – spoke out about the deal, believing it would be a terrible move and that the governing bodies should not allow it to go through. In a statement issued today, the CWA stated:
“The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission insisted that four national wireless carriers were necessary for competition when they opposed AT&T’s proposed bid for T-Mobile in 2011. At that time, the Justice Department called T-Mobile an “aggressive competitor” that benefits consumers by ensuring that the other three carriers would be forced to compete on price. Since that time T-Mobile has been strengthened by spectrum from AT&T and Verizon, as well as its acquisition of Metro PCS.”
It went on to say that for the regulators to approve the bid by Softbank “would be irresponsible“, and that it’s a company that brings less to the table than the AT&T bid, for both consumers and workers.
“The synergies that investors look for would mean that T-Mobile US workers, who already were hit with the closing of seven call centers in 2012 as that work was offshored by T-Mobile US would likely see more jobs disappear in a SoftBank-Deutsche Telekom deal. It is about time that concern for jobs is more than lip service from regulators.”
The CWA is America’s largest union for communications staff, with 700,000 members. A strong voice in the industry. Let’s hope that it’s a voice that ends up being heard by the regulators.
With the number of rumors and mentions of the deal currently in circulation, it’d be foolish to completely ignore the possibility that Softbank really does want T-Mobile in its war chest. Currently, Sprint isn’t even threatening to challenge any of the other carriers, and it won’t be long before it’s the #4 carrier (in terms of subscribers). There’s also no doubt that this move will face strong opposition and may not get regulatory approval.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled and our ears to the ground on this one. It’s not going away anytime soon.