Several Democrats urge FCC to seek additional public comment on T-Mobile-Sprint merger

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Days after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai formally recommended that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger be approved, some members of the U.S. government are urging the FCC to allow for a period of public comment before voting on the deal.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and a group of other Democratic senators today sent a letter to FCC Chairman Pai, saying that the FCC should issue a public notice and seek public comment on the proposed merger. Along with Klobuchar, the letter is 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).

“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 letter says. “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.”

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) also sent a letter to FCC Chairman Pai this week to urge the FCC to take more public input on the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

“As I have noted before, the proposed transaction is presumptively illegal under decades of black letter law and the Justice Department’s merger enforcement guidelines,” Rep. Cicilline said. “Both the original transaction and proposed settlement agreement raise the threat of higher phone bills, less choice, fewer jobs, and worse wages for hardworking Americans. The prospect of these harmful effects for working people demands a thorough and transparent review.”

Despite the letters from these Democrats, it doesn’t sound like the FCC will be delaying its vote on the merger.

“This transaction has been pending in front of the Commission for more than a year, and there have been multiple public comment cycle. Moreover, the commitments offered by T-Mobile and Sprint to the Commission have been public since May, and many parties have submitted comments about them,” an FCC spokesperson told The Verge. “The time has come for Commissioners to vote and for this proceeding to be brought to a close.”

While FCC Chairman Pai submitted a draft order to the other FCC commissioners to vote on T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger this week, he signaled his support for the deal back in May. At that time, FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr and Mike O’Rielly also indicated that they supported the merger, meaning that the merger already has backing from 3 of the 5 FCC commissioners.

The T-Mobile-Sprint merger is still facing opposition from a group of 16 state attorneys general, including AGs from New York, California, Texas, and Washington D.C. The trial for that lawsuit was originally slated to begin in October but was recently pushed back to December 9.

Sources: Senator Amy Klobuchar, Representative David Cicilline

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  • riverhorse

    Ahhh…. Democrats in all their glorious splendor. Coast to coast. Smooth operators. But comeuppance will arrive in November 2020.

    • They’re very pro-government and anti-business. Always have been. Nothing new to see here.

      • marque2

        Yeah but they don’t seem to realize that they are actually hurting TMobile and Sprint customers. TMobile may be a “greedy corporation” but if they didn’t provide me a useful service. They are now preventing me as a customer from getting better service.

        • riverhorse

          Now all of sudden they insist on 4 genders-err national providers, when they never before insisted on more than even 1 for telegram, money remittance, mobile, landline, cable tv, internet, satellite…

        • Mike Smith

          That’s because they can’t. The government can’t demand someone start a new competitor, but they can limit consolidation if it protects consumers.

        • marque2

          Didn’t they just demand TMobile create a new competitor? Huh, they sure did!

          And how does hamstringing TMobile and bankrupting Sprint help the consumer? Who knows – but it sounds good and let’s throw in an Orange Man Bad just to make it complete.

        • riverhorse

          But, Tmo rose from nothing and spent billions to get there. The epitome American hard work, patience and perseverance success story.
          Punishing them is the ultimate kill business, investment and innovation formula.

        • Jim Mill

          I don’t feel that Tmobile is greedy they offer it cheeper and have spent the money to improve there network and want to take on dumb and dumber. I agree with you that it will hurt the customers. What is funny how some of the people who voted yes on At&t voted no on Tmobile

      • vrm

        unfortunately, pro-government does not favor the people because our government works AGAINST its people. We already saw how corrupt the FBI and DOJ had become under Obama (as also the state dept, DHS, IRS etc).

        • Mike Smith

          It sure does with this administration… who else would put an oil lobbyist in charge of the EPA?

        • marque2

          OMG heaven forbid we drill too much and have cheap energy. We got to pay 4x as much for natural hampster generated power. That’s just good for everybody to pay to much for power.

  • gramps28

    They’re worried about loss of jobs and competition but yet they’re pushing for the $15 minimum wage which will lose jobs and hurt the small business owners.

    Get use to using automation at your fast food restaraunts and grocery stores.

    • vrm

      But they will NOT ratify the NAFTA replacement, USMCA which is supposed to help even more with wages and jobs. Everything politicians do is for election posturing- they have no intention of following up or representing our interest.

    • Mike Smith

      You say that like it’s a bad thing… who would rather get something done quickly ordering yourself or scanning yourself? Unless you’re a shut in an need the attention most people would rather get in and out.

      • marque2

        I find the kiosks usually take about twice as long to get my food as just going up to the counter. But go ahead and fiddle with menu after menu just to order a drink.

        • Mike Smith

          I don’t drink soft drinks so doesn’t apply to me, but generally I order from my phone before I walk in the door. WAY faster and don’t have to talk to any idiots.

        • marque2

          So now you think people earning an honest living are idiots? I find most people in general are not idiots, but you are beginning to make me change my mind.

        • Mike Smith

          Generally yes, they aren’t hired because they’re bright. ;)

    • Jim Mill

      When Tmobile took over Metro they created jobs

    • Robert Roll

      they probably don’t want this merger be because it will reduce cost for the combined T-Mobile-Sprint and they could potently pass those onto there customers forcing AT&T and Verizon to lower rates which would in-turn force AT&T and VZ to reduce there cost taking away money from there CEOs and Unions revenue stream.. which is probably the political entities pulling the politicians strings right now.

  • Mike

    Hasn’t there now been years of public comment? What more can be said?

    • marque2

      It’s all about the graft at this point. Every AG and congressperson is holding out their hand – or else.

  • Jim Mill

    Democrats. Probably because Tmobile stayed in Trump hotels.

  • JG

    […] some members of the U.S. government are urging the FCC to allow for a period of public comment before voting on the deal

    Why bother? Some 75% of the entire US population wanted to keep Title II and Net Neutrality on the books… The vast majority of comments sent to the FCC were pro-Title II…

    Yet Pai ignored everyone and voted the way his bosses, the big ISP lobbyist, told him to vote… And Carr and O’Riley followed through as his own personal Yes Men puppets…

    Why should we expect him to act any different with the T-Mobile merger? We’re getting New T-Mobile irregardless… Taking a break to “listen” to public comment before voting will just delay the inevitable by a few months… Pai will still get on stage and utter all of the lies he’s been told to say…

    • marque2

      75% of the nation got duped into siding with Google, forcing others to accept their content for free. I don’t understand why you would want to give Google such a big break at the expense of your local ISP. When NN was enacted our internet speed increases greatly slowed down. Now they are back up again. I guess the millennial generation is the easily duped generation. Call the ” let huge corporations keep all the money to themselves bill ” something cute like “Net Neutrality” and they are all for it.

  • OnePlus7Pro IsBoss

    Typical Democratic response the games they play are old unnecessary and pathetically useless.

    Democratic Demodicks need to get a real job nothing they do matters in society today.

    • Turb0wned

      I wonder how anyone that always voted Democrat doesn’t realized that these people have done absolutely nothing for them the last 3 years but spend our taxes consistently trying to impeach the president. This isn’t really meant to be a political post or to start an argument, just don’t understand how anyone can look at the Democratic Party right now and think, I can’t wait to vote for them.

      • OnePlus7Pro IsBoss

        The entire party is a sad joke and none of the current candidates running as Democrats will beat Trump next November.

        Everything Democrat related is fucked up especially Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, most major cities with democratic mayor’s/governors.

        Can’t make up how useless they are nothing they do will stop this merger.

      • Jim Mill

        Absolutely

      • riverhorse

        Are you kidding? NYT n WaPo op-eds plus prominent celebrities are calling for an outright recession to get rid of Trump, labeling it as worthwhile.

    • Jim Mill

      Agree

  • Dharharr

    I scrolled through the comments… No Fabian Cortez saying this merger isn’t political? What? Where is that guy to argue it ain’t so?

    • marque2

      He ODed on bath salts.

    • riverhorse

      Methinks he’s a lobbyist or lawyer.
      Going by surname here, many people or at least ancestors, fled to here from failed countries. Yet they label themselves proud Martians, fly their Martian flag, and insist on enacting failed Martian policies that are often the very opposite of those that made our country great. This are the very definitions of ingratitude, disrespect, and for the latter point either ignorance or a hidden agenda.

      I include myself as part of the later than The Mayflower arrivals – eligible for 7 different passports actually.
      But I will bleed red, white and blue until the day I die.
      If by chance I ever have a temporary residence elsewhere, say for business, I will not crusade there for government change, or protest for equal rights, benefits, facilities, etc. for Americans…label that country that allowed me in racist, bigoted, etc.

      Semper Fidelis.

  • Francisco Peña

    As I think about this… and people always dog Pai for being a VZ puppy…

    If that was the case, that he’s in VZ’s pocket, and we know VZ wouldn’t want another big carrier, why even bother? Why agree to the merger then? VZW wouldn’t want this merger, so why wouldn’t they push Pai to reject it?

    I want the merger to go through. if they want to raise my bill $10 to be able to get 5G much quicker, go ahead. My 3 lines unlimited is $83 now.. I’d like my bill low, but I can’t expect services to get better without some investing in growth. I hate that behind the mall along a stretch of a few miles in a major urban area, my coverage stinks.

    I hate that in my house I barely get a signal. If I can pay $10 and know those would be fixed, I’m down.

  • George B

    The reason for public comment isn’t T-Mobile buying Sprint to gain Sprint’s 2.5 GHz licenses. The reason is the last minute proposal to divest Sprint’s 800 MHz licenses from T-Mobile, a company that builds and maintains actual cellular networks, to Dish who has a history of sitting on licenses. It was mutually beneficial for regional and rural carriers to work with Sprint on roaming and Sprint had nationwide licenses from the Nextel 800 MHz spectrum deal. Sprint and the rural and regional carriers worked to include a common set of each other’s LTE bands in devices to support roaming at a time when Verizon and AT&T went out of their way to leave out bands used by their competitors. The FCC should look requiring all cellular devices to cover some minimum common set of bands to preserve the roaming-friendly device specs that Sprint and the CCA Device Hub made possible. The specific concern is that New T-Mobile might drop Band 26 from devices they sell as they divest that spectrum, making it harder for the company that buys Dish to get a separate nationwide network started.