Dish once again comes out against T-Mobile-Sprint merger, other groups chime in with their opposition

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After initially filing its opposition to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger back in August, Dish recently made another argument against the deal.

In its latest filing, Dish claims that if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge, it will lead to a national mobile voice and broadband market controlled by three companies, lead to excessive concentration in other relevant markets, and result in increased prices for consumers. “The Applicants have not come close to demonstrating that the merger as currently proposed would serve the public interest,” Dish writes. “In many respects, the Opposition, as well as internal documents produced by the Applicants, set their case back significantly.”

Dish goes on to make several arguments against the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, claiming that the deal would have worse effects that the previously proposed AT&T-T-Mobile deal because the T-Mo-Sprint deal would result in three carriers of a roughly equal size to the two others, which could lead to coordination.

Another argument made by Dish is that “5G deployment is not a consumer benefit”. Dish says that while T-Mobile and Sprint have claimed that their merger is necessary to create a robust 5G network, “each of the Applicants is capable of fast, broad, and deep 5G deployment.” Dish then points to previous statements from T-Mobile and Sprint that tout their individual 5G deployment capabilities.

Dish also make a case against the claims that Sprint is a failing firm. “Sprint’s most recent earnings results (for Q2 2018), released today, reflect its strength in the market,” Dish says, pointing to Sprint’s statements that Q2 2018 brought its fourth consecutive quarter of net income and five consecutive quarters of postpaid net additions. “Sprint also touted its continued progress deploying its ‘Next-Gen Network,’ highlighting plans to launch a mobile 5G service in the first half of 2019,” Dish said. “This is hardly the picture of an ailing firm, or one that needs a market-consolidating merger to launch a 5G network that is already underway.”

If you’d like to read more of Dish’s arguments against the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, you can find the full 240-page document over at FierceWireless. We know that Dish was already opposed to the deal because of the opposition it filied back in August, but this latest filing adds to the back and forth between it and T-Mobile in regulatory filings. Recently, T-Mobile went after Dish in its own FCC filing, claiming that Dish is hoarding spectrum and that the FCC should push Dish to do something with that spectrum or strip Dish of its spectrum holdings.

Other groups recently issued arguments in opposition to the T-Mobile-Sprint merger as well. For example the Communication Workers of America argued that after refining its analysis of the deal, it belives that the merger is likely to eliminate 30,000 jobs, up from its previous estimate of 28,000. The Rural Wireless Association chimed in, too, claiming that “For the great majority of rural Americans, the level of coverage and capacity would be similar for New T-Mobile as it would be for standalone T-Mobile”.

A new group called Protect America’s Wireless has also emerged as an opponent to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger. The group’s website has a section focused on “Protecting American National Security” that contains a quote from former George W. Bush White House staffer and current Fox News contributor Bradley Blakeman, who says, “Both Sprint and T-Mobile have a long history of using Chinese equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE for devices integral to providing voice and data service, such as routers, servers, transmitters or receivers. These big suppliers — Huawei had more than $92 billion in revenue last year — have powerful tools at their disposal that could be used against the United States.”

T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger is under review by the FCC and DOJ. The FCC has paused its 180-day shot clock on the review of the deal so that it has time to thoroughly review documents submitted by T-Mo and Sprint. The two carriers are still confident that their merger will close in the first half of 2019.

Sources: FierceWireless, Communication Workers of America, Rural Wireless Association, Protect America’s Wireless

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  • Menobastian

    I think Dish has bigger things to worry about, like deployment of their spectrum or risk losing those licenses.

    • dcmanryan

      Exactly. Not to mention losing customers left and right. Dish is a dying brand on life support and I can’t wait until the plug is pulled.

    • Phil7474

      Exactly. Not to mention the Monopoly verizon and at&t has on the industry. The merger is needed. Dish is just holding spectrum hostage. I hope the FCC makes them loose there spectrum because it’s not being used and then someone else could bid on it in a auction.

  • Sour Grapes much, Dish…??

  • bkat11

    This just seems petty at this point

  • Acdc1a

    Dish has the spectrum to launch their own wireless network. Why would they care if prices go up? If they go too high wouldn’t they just come in and undercut the competition?

    • slybacon

      Exactly. Or if they go higher, they can enter the market easier with less capital.

  • taxandspend

    DISH really doesn’t have much credibility here. They haven’t even tried to compete by building a mobile network, so they don’t have anything to worry about.

  • Jon

    I still have mixed feelings about this merger. Yes there are merits to this merger but at the same time this could go so wrong and the USA could end up just like Canada where the the carriers pretty much work together to keep prices high.

    It could pretty much also end up like the Cable TV & broadband market where this is so little competition and monopolies are the industry norm is most states.

    I am cautiously watching and seeing where this goes. I am really hoping though that we all come out winning in the end but I’m somewhat doubtful. I hope I am wrong this is nothing to worry about.

    • dcmanryan

      I know where you’re coming from. As long as they keep grandfathered plans we will be ok but if people honestly think prices will go down they’re foolish. They will stay the same for a year or so and then go and buy some Vaseline.

      • SirStephenH

        You’ll be able to keep grandfathered plans but T-Mobile ended grandfathered pricing around couple of years ago, replacing it with a 2 year guarantee which they falsely claimed was somehow a pro-consumer decision. People with unchanged plans from before that change are supposed to be able to keep grandfathered pricing though.

    • SirStephenH

      Verizon and AT&T have worked together to keep prices high here in the U.S., eliminating a lower priced competitor and creating an equal sized competitor will only lead to three way price fixing.

      • Acdc1a

        Do you really believe that Verizon and AT&T are threatened by Sprint or T-Mobile as it stands now?

      • BobbieDooley

        Verizon and AT&T also have union workforce which has pensions.

        It’s very much possible to work at Verizon or AT&T for an entire career; spanning decades. To compare, Every time I walk into a T-Mobile store with a question they seem to have a new store manager and staff.

    • frankinnoho

      Doesn’t sound like you’re too confused about it. You’ve noted two potentially devastating downsides, but no upsides. I don’t know that that there are any REAL upsides, at least not for customers. Even if you could come up with a couple of middling upsides, would they be worth the risks?

    • BobbieDooley

      If it matters… T-Mobile started offering 36-month iPhone contracts last week.

      The idea of these extended-term contracts is troubling; it shows that T-Mobile’s brand isn’t very “strong” if it can only compete on price, and its sales people can’t sell “value”.

  • Sean sorlie

    This from the company that has sat on its mobile spectrum for YEARS now.

    • BobbieDooley

      They’re playing it smart because AT&T is building a first-responder network for first-responders like fire, police, and paramedics.

      AT&Ts new network will be much more resilient and secure. AT&T will also have access to new real estate; it will be able to choose which company/companies it will share space on the towers if it wants.

      T-Mobile hasn’t made many friends in the industry so it’s stuck with having to build its own network.

  • slybacon

    I think this is more proof that Dish is scared of how much T-Mobile is going to kick ass after. Dish wouldn’t discourage higher mobile prices. Dish wouldn’t discourage less wireless competition. These things would help Dish enter the mobile market. T-Mobile is going to increase competition and lower prices and Dish is scared dish-less.

    • dcmanryan

      The prices won’t go down. Once T-Mobile quits gaining customers prices will go up. It’s already started and you’ll also see the perks dissipate. Simple Choice got free Vudu rentals monthly and the codes actually stacked, gone. Kickback where you’d save $10 a month per line if under 2gb, gone…..

      • slybacon

        I still get free Vudu or Redbox rentals every month. I also save $6 a month on diesel at Shell (each line saves this). I now get free Netflix. Oh, and I have 8 voice lines and one tablet line for a grand total of $175 (after taxes and fees) on One Military. That’s only $20 per voice line. All unlimited. So, the only thing I’ve seen is my bill going down. Your opinion is not swaying what I’ve experienced.

        • dcmanryan

          You’re not getting a free Vudu rental every month as we’ve not had Vudu for sometime now on T-Mobile Tuesday’s And the way it’s looking might not again. Redbox is useless to me and I give mine away and gas at Costco for me is still cheaper as I don’t own a diesel. I have the same unlimited as you but with only 5 lines and pay $136 out the door but my lines are full unlimited HD playback and I get 10gb late hotspot per line and unlimited 3g thanks to the one plus promo and the hookup code and more perks so yeah, we’re both doing ok for now. Get back with me in two years after the merger and we’ll see who’s right. I’m hoping most of our features will be grandfathered in but look what happened to simple choice unlimited and their free Vudu deal, it went bye-bye altogether for all. T-Mobile will eventually come out with a new more pricey plan and try to force out the T-Mobile One customers, I promise it will happen eventually. I said it a few posts down that once subscriber growth starts to slowdown like it eventually will the extra perks will be the first thing to go and John Ledgere won’t be running the show forever and will retire eventually and I think will see changes regardless then.

        • slybacon

          How do you sleep at night?

        • dcmanryan

          Like a baby.

        • frankinnoho

          “How do you sleep at night? Were do you get off asking this question? They’re not the ones caught in a lie.

        • BobbieDooley

          Right. And unfortunately, the management’s compensation plan is based on new activations. Chargebacks on commissions go back only 3 months. So the focus will always be on net new activations, and not on customer lifetime (or providing service) after the phone is sold.

        • SirStephenH

          No, you don’t get VUDU credits every month. You’re talking about T-Mobile Tuesdays and VUDU credits haven’t been given out by that in a while. We used to get them at least once a month but that stopped a while ago and it’s hit and miss now.

          What dcmanryan is talking about is the VUDU credits Simple Choice Unlimited customers used to get every month for having Bing On enabled. We’d get $3.99 per line and they were stackable on one VUDU account unlike the TM Tuesdays credits. T-Mobile decided to quietly end the credits early this year and we and many others immediatly diasabled Binge On once the credits stopped flowing.

      • BobbieDooley

        Yes. Most of this changed when Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hodges became Chairman of T-Mobile US.

        Basically, Tim is there because John Legere must have angered the pension investors in Germany. Legere is no longer “king”. T-Mobile also switched from being traded on the NYSE back to the NASDAQ.

    • frankinnoho

      Delusional much?

  • Nearmsp

    I have been a T-mobile customer for 15 years. I like T-mobile. BUT, under no circumstance would I support the merger of Sprint and T-mobile. Once this happens, that is the end of competition and give aways. T-mobile is not a charity. Its main purpose is to serve the interests of its shareholders. Concentration of the market leads to price increase and lesser competition. I am aghast at all the comments here. I get it that Sprint customers would love to see this merger. I am not sure there is anything for T-mobile customers. If this merger goes ahead, expect more expensive plans. The 5G will be the conduit to push through higher priced plans. Keep your slower LTE plans or pay up and move to higher priced 5G.

    • Acdc1a

      If you believe that T-Mobile and Sprint are a threat to the duopoly as separate entities, I have a bridge to sell you. Dish should be spending their efforts creating a new #4 instead of trying to camp out on spectrum. Their spectrum camping is far worse for your prices than a Sprint merger.

      • Sean sorlie

        YES!!

      • BobbieDooley

        Lolz. Easy to say what a third party company should do. However, Everyone, including T-Mobile, is waiting for AT&T to build firstnet.

        Why build a separate network when AT&T is working with local fire and police to provide first-responders with access everywhere

        Once AT&T has the commitments for emergency responders, they can build a tower anywhere; and run fiber to it. Finally, AT&T can then sub-lease to companies like Dish or T-Mobile if interested.

        But based on T-Mobile’s attitude towards AT&T they may be last to be on AT&T’s new antennas, and lowest on the new structures, causing less range.

  • JG

    Does Protect America’s Wireless’s objection make sense?

    They argue allowing the merger would be bad as it would introduce a national security issue.

    Except according to them:

    Both Sprint and T-Mobile have a long history of using Chinese equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE

    So in other words, independent Sprint and independent T-Mobile are already potentially compromised. The national security issue is already an issue. If the Chinese government wants to spy on our phone calls they can do so already, irregardless if Sprint and T-Mobile remain independent or if they combine into a single company.

    Allowing the merger could actually help reduce the scope of the issue. The government could impose a condition on approving the merger that would force New T-Mobile to use Nokia or some other approved hardware rather than Huawei and ZTE.

    If nothing else, we could always use FCC Maths (where 1 provider makes a competitive market). Independently, Sprint and T-Mobile make up half of the US cellular carriers. New T-Mobile would represent a third. Assuming Verizon and AT&T don’t rely on compromised hardware, right now 50% of the carriers are at risk. After the merger, only 33% will be. 50%>33%…. The national security issue has been reduced! Just saying.