California utilities commission won’t make T-Mobile-Sprint merger decision until April 16th


T-Mobile has said that its merger with Sprint could close as soon as April 1st, but it’s looking like that may not happen.

While T-Mobile and Sprint have secured most of the approvals they need to complete their merger, they’re still waiting to get the green light from the California Public Utilities Commision. The CPUC is the last state utility commission of 19 total that hasn’t voted on the deal, and as noted by Bloomberg, it has said that it will vote on a final decision on the merger at an April 16th meeting.

T-Mobile and Sprint asked the CPUC to move the merger decision up to its March 26th meeting and to shorten the public review period, which is set to be released by March 13th. However, the CPUC denied both requests.

It’s possible that T-Mobile could go ahead with the merger in the 49 other states and wait to combine in California until it gets approval. Considering that California is a big state that’s also the most populous state in the country, though, T-Mobile and Sprint may decide that it’s not worth the trouble since they’re so close to completing the merger entirely.

The T-Mobile-Sprint merger is also undergoing a Tunney Act review by Judge Timothy Kelly for any possible antitrust violations. The issue here is that Kelly has been quiet for more than a month and it’s unclear when he might make his final decision.

As PCMag notes, Kelly was appointed by President Trump in 2017, and so it’s not likely that he’s going to block the merger after it’s already been approved by the FCC and DOJ. Still, it’s probably frustrating for T-Mobile and Sprint that the review is still happening and that Kelly has been quiet as of late.

T-Mobile and Sprint continue to prepare as if the merger will be allowed to complete despite these hold-ups. The two carriers are undergoing the prep work to combine the networks, reports PCMag‘s Sascha Segan, which includes transitioning Sprint subscribers over to the T-Mobile network and repurposing Sprint’s LTE Band 41 coverage for T-Mobile 5G.

The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint was first announced in April 2018 and was expected to close in the first half of 2019. The deal was met with some resistance by a group of state attorneys general who argued that the merger would raise prices, lessen competition, and harm jobs, and eventually the state AGs sued to block the deal but a judge rejected those arguments.

Now the merger appears to be in the home stretch, but T-Mobile and Sprint may have to wait another month or so to complete the deal as it waits for the CPUC and Judgke Kelly to make their decisions.

Thanks Cameron!

Sources: Bloomberg, PCMag

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  • Acdc1a

    I’d really like to see T-Mobile/Sprint exit the California marketplace if it’s not approved. Go from 4 carriers to 2. You’re welcome.

    • Bilesha Welton

      California has already been screwed up by its leadership so yeah, why not? The people living there obviously love the abuse.

      • Shaun Michalak

        Either that or they are not smart enough to figure out how to vote for anything other then what they are used to.. We have the same problem here.. I seen people complain up and down about the city council, the school board, etc and how they are spending money.. More people complained then not.. Then when the election rolled around, they voted straight democrat, just like they always do, and put the same exact people back in again.. Heck, every mayor that we have had for the past 55 years have been democrats.. My point is, you need to mix things up a little every now and then, and not vote based on some kind of hatred for the other party, which is exactly what they do.. City council, county council, mayor, school board.. all straight democrats across the board.. I find it sad that not one person can look past that single word when they vote..

        • Bilesha Welton

          I vote R and have no regrets. Yes I voted for Trump. In fact, I’ve been to a few rallies so there may or may not be footage of me holding a Latinos for Trump sign somewhere in the audience ;) lol

          My family and I migrated to California from Columbia when I was very little (legal immigration of course) and when I was a teenager, I grew to hate California and the U.S. in general. Almost moved out, but then decided to move instead to another state. I realized that not every state was as bad as California and now I’m absolutely proud to be an American.

          Experiencing this, I can understand why so many people in California hate this country. They don’t know the grass is greener elsewhere.

        • Shaun Michalak

          I understand what you mean.. Heck, from everything that I have heard coming from California, I have no interest in ever visiting there in my life.. I am not a die hard Republican or Democrat.. I am the type that feels both sides have good things to bring to the table, that can make things better.. But it seems that the Democrat party has forgotten how to do things for the better, and less about themselves in the past 10 or so years.. Because it has been within that time, that I have seen more and more stupid laws put in place by them, that are more about them, or their wants, then about the people..

          Just look at this current things with T-Mobile.. They sue T-Mobile, where a democrat judge even says that they can not even start to actually prove their side.. And now, have the guts to tell T-Mobile that while they unfairly prosecuted them, they now want them to pay for their actions?? Sad part is, California is probably the “only” state that would do this.. To me, that is just a crude and selfish gesture.. Why would I want to visit a state with these types of ideals??

          But you are right.. the grass is greener.. Just about anywhere other then California.. The only other state that might even come close would be New York or Virginia, but my opinion, they are not anywhere near as close..

          PS.. Yes I voted for trump too.. and personally, I have no problem with immigrants coming here as long as they meet a few standards.. First, they make their own way.. They do not live off of the system.. I am not saying a little help, I mean mostly to fully off of the system.. Second, if you live in an area that mostly or only speaks English, learn how to speak it.. Do not come here and expect everyone else to learn your language. they came here, we did not go there.. Even if it takes you a while to learn it, at least try.. Third, do not make or cause a lot of trouble..

    • John Doe

      Yes T-Mobile is going to lose the biggest and most populous state because some random person online is butthurt lol

      T-Mobile’s revenue woould shrink, all of their investments in the state would be lost and their stock would plunge.

      • vrm

        Just call their bluff. CA wouldn’t be willing to lose 2 of the major carriers and all the jobs associated with that. They will come running back to t-mobile. Its time (tyrannical) governments are put in place.

        • John Doe

          CA does not care, CA has more power over companies than the Federal government. They are the biggest economy in the US and the 5th biggest economy in the world (look at what happened vechile emissions…they all fell in line with CA). Many carriers will jump in and take T-Mobile’s place in a heartbeat. Carriers like US cellular and even Verizon and AT&T will significantly increase their marketing and all of their MVNOs will sweep in and once that happens T-Mobile’s customers will not comeback because they will pay less.

        • vrm

          It is odd that the “biggest economy in the US” has to set fire to its forests several times a year for emergency cash. Also so heavily in debt even after some of the highest tax rates. Even thinking about taxing SMS to raise more revenue.

          Their bubble economy is created by wall street funding S.V. bubbles with inflated stock prices (bought with tax payer funded 401K and QE). It USED to be that Hollywood bought in some revenue- not anymore. The studios are propped up by the Chinese who push anti-American propaganda. So they are losing viewers there big time.

          Then the agri business was good- once. That was also killed by NAFTA, overregulation and deliberate subterfuge by politicians to destroy their water resources.. This will slowly come back with trade deals and USMCA but it will take time. Without agriculture, CA doesn’t produce ANYTHING that ANYBODY wants, outside of its idiocracy.

        • John Doe

          It produces talent and attracts talent, EVERYBODY WANTS THAT. Also CA has a lot of rare earth elements, they actually have the biggest mine outside of china but they have not mined it in a long time over environmental concerns so if push comes to shove they can mine it again.

        • vrm

          ROFLMAO. Bunches of 3rd world keyboard monkeys with college degrees. There’s no talent. I was one of them. Most of these people can be replaced by chimps. And the software they work on- is useless. Its an urban myth.

        • John Doe

          you seem butthurt lol they are making money though and you are typing on a service (Disqus) that is based in california…the irony. LMFAO.

  • JG

    The deal was met with some resistance by a group of state attorneys general who argued that the merger would raise prices, lessen competition, and harm jobs, […]

    I find the fact they’ve apparently just disbanded after they lost their trial a bit suspicious.

    If these AGs are really so pro-competition, why haven’t they switched attention to a very closely related area… Wired broadband?

    Depending on where they live, some 2/3rds of Americans have the choice of either just Comcast (30 million) or just Spectrum (36 million).

    I wasn’t a maths major (or even minor) in uni, but I’m pretty sure 1 is less than 3. And if they AGs were arguing 3 is too few for competition…

    I doubt they could force Spectrum to start offering service in Comcast areas but they should be able to get rid of all the red tape laws that prohibits new ISPs from getting started.

    • Shaun Michalak

      or support local businesses from setting up or expanding to give the coverage…. Like with here.. We have velocity that is starting to install area wide fiber.. They got a small grant to start them off.. but the fact is, they said that it is going to take something like 10 years for them to just break even with what it is going to install the service from scratch.. It would really entice them to get it installed faster if they did not have to take all the money out of their pockets.. In then end, they can only install it as fast as they have the money to do the expansions..

      But wait.. They are private, not a huge corp, and they are actually putting competition in, as much as $60 for 300 up, 300 down, with wifi, where Spectrum is charging $80 for 100 up, 10 down with wifi.. Point here is, this company is going to be installing just about up to the NY border.. I do not see their AG talking to them about going into NY with substitutes, like they did with Spectrum..

    • Fibonacci Octopus

      The states don’t have that kind of power. And cable is even less regulated than POTS and wireless.

      • Shaun Michalak

        Partly right.. While they do not have the power to make other cable companies come into the area.. They do have the power to give an incentive to local companies to entice them to expand..

  • Shaun Michalak

    It’s possible that T-Mobile could go ahead with the merger in the 49
    other states and wait to combine in California until it gets approval.

    I would do that.. and then put CA on the back burners for getting things done.. When people there complain, just say.. Hey, we wanted to do it, but your state officials are the ones that kept us from doing it.. It is not our fault.. Just to make them look like crap.. Maybe then, they would be decent about things to other companies in the future.. Just look at the facts.. They have a meeting coming up on the 26st.. They could easily put this in that meeting to get it through, but they are putting it on hold, for in my opinion, one of 2 reasons.. Either they are just that lazy / incompetent.. or just out of spite..

    Either way, that state has cost T-Mobile a lot of hassle and money, and has gained absolutely nothing from it.. and now they are doing more to continue their spiteful attitude.. But then when things do get merged, if things did not go their way, then you know they would be the first to complain about it, even though they are the ones that caused it.. Sad part is, between what i have seen, read, etc.. I really can not say I know of one positive thing that I can say about California any more, between their actions, laws, and regulations.. They are about as bad as all other states combined in their poor judgement of things..

  • Jose Hernandez

    So this was announced:

    “California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will not appeal the judge’s decision last month to reject the state AGs’ lawsuit against the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. Becerra announced today that the California Department of Justice has struck a deal with T-Mo and Sprint regarding their merger.”

    This pretty much guarantees that the CPUC won’t try to block the merger. The will probably still make everyone wait until late April out of spite.

  • Fibonacci Octopus

    Who’s Cameron?