More companies file opposition to T-Mobile-Sprint merger, including Altice and Dish

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Hot on the heels of the CWA union coming out against the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, several major companies have submitted their own comments on the deal.

Cable provider Altice said in a filing with the FCC that it’s concerned about the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. Altice has an MVNO agreement with Sprint and is planning to utilize it to enter the wireless market in 2019, but the company is concerned that if the T-Mobile-Sprint merger goes through, it could have an effect on its ability to expand. T-Mobile has made no commitments regarding support for its MVNO partners, including offering them access to the New T-Mobile’s full nationwide network. Plus, Altice argues, reducing the number of nationwide carriers for four to three reduces the number of viable nationwide MVNO partners.

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Dish is another company that’s come out against the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. Dish says that data from other countries that experienced four-to-three reductions in the number of carriers to say that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger could lead to an increase in prices, not a decrease like T-Mo has claimed. One example Dish points to is in Austria, where the country’s competition regulator found that the merger of Orange Austria and H3G Austria resulted in inflation-adjuisted price increases of 14 to 20 percent on average, as well as a 20 to 30 percent increase for prepaid.

Dish responds to T-Mobile and Sprint’s claims that there are more than four major competitors in wireless, too, saying that MVNOs tend to be focused on a particular region or sub-market. Dish says that it won’t be a major competitor either, at least not in the near term, with a focus on being an Internet of Things provider to start and plans to expand to full 5G coverage in the future. That expansion would depend on inputs like radios and devices which would be scarcer if the merger were approved, Dish claims.

Another argument made by Dish is that T-Mobile and Sprint do not need to merge to build out a nationwide 5G network. Dish points to statements made by T-Mobile and Sprint in late 2017 and early 2018 in which the carriers claimed that they nationwide 5G networks were planned.

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C Spire, a regional carrier, also came out against the merger. It argued that if Sprint’s CDMA network is quickly decommissioned, it could have a negative effect on millions of customers, especially those in rural areas. C Spire also raised the concern that the reduction of major U.S. carriers from four to three could make it more difficult for other providers to get wholesale agreements on reasonable terms.

AT&T today filed a comment with the FCC regarding the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, too, and while it says that it’s not taking a position on the deal, its statements do paint the merger in a negative light. For example, AT&T shared reports and statements from FCC commissioners who say that the U.S. is the world leader in 5G. AT&T also pointed to recent statements from T-Mobile and Sprint that say that they’re working toward future 5G deployments independently of a merger. Charter Communications’ filing was similar to AT&T’s, with Charter saying that it won’t take a position but saying that it’s not a major competitive presence because it only recently entered the wireless market and relies on its MVNO deal with Verizon for providing mobile service.

Several other groups also filed comments with the FCC in opposition to the merger, including the Rural Wireless Association, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Aureon, and Broadcast Data Corp.

There have been some groups that’ve filed positive comments about the merger recently. One example is the Free State Foundation, which argues that there’s “strong evidence” that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger would benefit both consumers and enterprises “by enabling faster mobile broadband speeds, higher data capacity, and reduced per-megabit prices.”

If you’d like to dive in to these filings for yourself, you can find them on the FCC’s website. You may want pour some coffee or grab a different beverage of your choice first, though, because some of them are pretty lengthy.

Sources: Altice, Dish, C Spire, AT&T, Charter, Free State Foundation

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  • Philip

    Funny nobody oppose Delta and Northwest merge, etc etc. Nobody oppose Wachoiva and Wells Fargo merge, etc etc

    • PC_Tool

      “nobody oppose Delta and Northwest”

      Other than the pilots, and MN Congressman Oberstar, sure.

      “Nobody oppose Wachoiva and Wells Fargo”

      Other than Citigroup, who tried to block it with an injunction?, sure.

      Somehow I think your recollection of these two events may be incomplete. :)

    • (J²)

      At the end of the day, it’s not up to corporations to decide the fate of other corporations. It just does not work that way. This merger will likely go through unless the FCC and DOJ find that it does not benefit customers or other entities.

      It does amaze me that the companies that are allowed to gobble up others time and time again have the most to say…

  • Tale Danis

    Call me crazy, but didn’t Dish try merging with T-Mobile once, too?
    They failed so they’re going to oppose this? Petty.

    • John Doe

      Also, Dish is setting on a lot of spectrum that they are not using so they are the last company that should say who can or cannot build out a 5G network.

      • SirStephenH

        Wireless spectrum is use it or lose it and Dish has less than 2 years to deploy a large chunk of their spectrum before they lose it. I guess they must think building out a wireless network is as quick and easy as setting up a wireless router.

      • Mike McDonald

        I think Dish wanted Sprint but Masa Son wanted too much money AND control. If the TMo deal fails then Dish can revisit its own potential deal. Sprint spectrum plus Dish spectrum makes a whole lotta bandwidth to transition away from satellite delivered TV.

    • Mike McDonald

      Dish tried to merge w/ DirecTV back in the 90s & the DOJ filed suit to block it. Charlie Ergen gave up leading to the Clearwire debacle. Satellite TV brought multichannel entertainment to rural areas but the costs of launching a delivery fleet plus the incredible intangibles of keeping those birds intact for their lifetime means better have a good backup plan. The reason Dish is still independent is Ergen. He doesn’t do deals unless he makes them first. But Dish can’t remain independent for long without some partnership. Somebody will be needed to finish the build out of Dish’s spectrum. Ergen probably wants the merger to fail so he can make a run at Sprint himself.

  • Kevin Wu

    There really aren’t any good reasons why this merger should happen. 5g will be launched without the merger happening. Who cares about 5g, besides the techies? There arent that many more benefits in 5g compared to 4g to the average person.

    • Acdc1a

      Replacement for fixed wire internet is a pretty big benefit for the average person…

      • SirStephenH

        While I mostly agree with your point, all this would do is give Pai another excuse to sabotage high quality wired internet deployment.

      • Kevin Wu

        Nothing really replaces wired internet. With wireless, the more data user uses, the slower it gets.

        • Acdc1a

          And that’s what 5g looks to fix.

    • PC_Tool

      “Who cares about 5g, besides the techies? There arent that many more benefits in 5g compared to 4g to the average person.”

      Wow. Just…wow. /smh

      • bkat11

        Who cares about VHS? Betamax works just fine for me thank you very much…SAID NO ONE EVER!!!!!

        • Nate

          Betamax was way better than VHS. In the end, quantity won over quality.

          I suspect the merger will not go through due to the power that be choosing quantity of carriers over quality of carriers.

        • PC_Tool

          But carriers aren’t just carriers any more.

          They are now becoming home-internet providers, content providers, etc just as Cable companies no longer just provide Cable access…they’re now content providers, Wireless service providers, etc.

          T-Mobile is looking not to compete just with ATT, and VZW any more with this merger and their other recent aquisitions; they want to compete with Dish, DirectTV, and Comcast as well.

          This isn’t about getting less competition. This is about getting more.

        • riverhorse

          Excellent point. Post-merger Tmo will shake up the cable/broadand industry and become The UnCord / NoCord Provider.

        • PC_Tool

          They own’t be the only one. 5G opens it up to all players.

          Comcast is looking for ways to remove the cord.

          Dish and DirecTV are looking for ways to enhance their already “cordless” positions.

          It’s all evolving into one giant playground. Until the Cable giants start acquiring the Wireless giants, we as consumers can really only win on this one. It opens up all kinds of new options, many of which I am sure we haven’t even considered yet.

        • riverhorse

          Correctomundo. Although I feel Tmo will be huge. Given DT international presence and Tmo proclivity for fair pricing–to have one company bundle cell/tv/web here and worldwide will have no peer.
          Great time to acquire stock now.

        • GracefullyParanoid

          I actually think it was because the p o r n industry choose VHS.

        • Nate

          You may be correct.

        • SirStephenH

          VHS and Betamax were pretty much the same thing. VHS vs DVD would have been a more accurate choice.

        • PC_Tool

          Betamax and VHS were both ready to become the next format.

          Betamax was better by far.

          DVD supplanted VHS as the next evolution and isn’t even close to the same thing. The closest there would be DVD vs. Laserdisc, or better yet – the next evolutionary step: BluRay vs. HD-DVD.

      • riverhorse

        I think i got whiplash from smh.

        • PC_Tool

          Right?

          It’s basically willful ignorance. The information is there – he just doesn’t want to know it.

          He’s happy in his bubble.

    • (J²)

      I feel like we’ve been down this road before with 4G/LTE… 4G/LTE did not end up being what it was originally sold as. Unfortunately, the speeds and latency vary between the 4 carriers.

      My point? Yes, 5G will happen regardless BUT, would you rather carriers do it half ass just because it’s better or do it right? 4G is an example of a poor rollout.

      Also, the average person would like to see more competition in the ISP space. Not only are some of us not able to get the best speeds, we are paying through the roof prices and a few of us have community contracts with this big evil companies that do not allow us to choose. For example, in apartments communities and town homes generally have a contract locking in residents with that ISP. If they want an alternative, they’d have to go through a carrier.

      Would you like to see what internet would cost you 10 years from now without any competition? I think not.

  • Sharti24

    The merger will go through. Sprint will threaten to file for bankruptcy and no one wants that. Plus look who’s the final say, the Republicans

  • TaskForce141

    I’m sure Verizon has a position on this, but they’ve said nothing (except to their double agent at the FCC, Pai).

  • riverhorse

    F*** Altice, C-Spire, Dish, AT&T, Charter, CWA…none of them have a bright future.

  • Clintoncrat_for_Palin

    T-Mobile and Sprint are the 3rd and 4th largest carriers in the country, respectively. If they merge, they’re going to be… wait for it… wait for it… drum-roll please: the 3rd largest carrier in the country. Asinine: like NetFlix opposing data-caps; pure self-centeredness. KAGA, PUMA.

    • Jay Holm

      “KAGA, PUMA”??? UMM. .. whaaaaaat?

      • Clintoncrat_for_Palin

        Keep America Great Again! Party Unity My *donkey*! Berniecrats for Trump 2020.