T-Mobile-Sprint merger tidbits: Comcast won’t buy divested spectrum, C Spire supports deal


There have been a lot of leaks, rumors, and speculation surrounding T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger this week, including one report that said that the DOJ wants the two carriers to help create a new, fourth U.S. carrier and a rumor claiming that Amazon may buy Boost Mobile. Now we’re winding down the week with some more tidbits related to the merger.

First up, Comcast says that it won’t be buying any spectrum that T-Mobile and Sprint may divest in order to get their merger approved. “We do not have an interest in acquiring divested spectrum from the Sprint [and] T-Mobile transaction,” a Comcast spokesperson told CNBC. Sources tell CNBC and Reuters that Comcast is also uninterested in buying Boost Mobile.

T-Mobile and Sprint have said that they’d divest Boost Mobile if their merger is approved. Rumors say that the two carriers may also divest some spectrum to help their odds of getting DOJ approval for the merger, and it’s expected that that spectrum would be used to help create a new competitive carrier.

Meanwhile, regional carrier C Spire Wireless has come out in support of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger after previously opposing it. “Our advocacy was limited to a narrow set of issues, and we are no longer concerned that those issues should prevent the transaction from being approved,” C Spire told Light Reading. C Spire previously argued that the merger would reduce the number of viable roaming partners.

Altice USA voiced its opposition to the merger this week, despite the conditions that T-Mobile and Sprint announced recently. In recent meetings with government officials, Altice said that “the proposed commitments offer nothing new to Altice given the terms of the existing wholesale agreement between Sprint and Altice.”

“While Altice welcomes T-Mobile reiterating its commitment to follow the terms of Sprint’s agreement with Altice, and including these commitments as conditions to merger approval enforceable by the Commission, neither of these commitments by T-Mobile address Altice’s concern about the anticompetitive impact of the merger on the wholesale market,” Altice went on to say in its filing with the FCC. The company goes on to say that the merger should be denied, even with the new conditions, because of “the harm to the wholesale market that will result from the merger.”

Altice’s opposition to the T-Mobile-Sprint merger is notable because rumors say the cable company is planning to launch an MVNO this summer that runs on the Sprint network and offers service at $20 to $30 per month. As part of their commitments tied to the merger’s approval, T-Mobile and Sprint have said that they’d retain Sprint’s MVNO agreement with Altice and that the New T-Mobile would engage in talks to expand that agreement to the New T-Mobile’s 5G network.

The T-Mobile-Sprint merger has gotten support from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, but it’s still undergoing an antitrust review by the DOJ.

Thanks, Ben!

Sources: CNBC, Reuters, Light Reading, FCC

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