Last week, a leaked internal document revealed important shutdown dates that T-Mobile has lined up for both T-Mobile and Sprint. Today, antitrust officials at the Department of Justice expressed their “grave concerns” about this. More specifically, they expressed their concerns on T-Mo’s plans to shut down the wireless network being used by Boost Mobile customers.
These concerns were addressed by the department today as the Division looked for a way to solve the issue. After discussion, the DoJ sent a letter to the attorneys of Dish Network and T-Mobile to address the shutdown. Part of the letter reads:
“After careful consideration of the Parties’ submissions and arguments, the Division is left with grave concerns about the potential for a nationwide CDMA shutdown to leave a substantial proportion of Boost’s customers without service.”
Although the Department was unable to reach any “conclusions today”, they will not hesitate to step in if both T-Mo and Dish are unable to figure out the issue on their own.
Boost Mobile was purchased by Dish Network Corp. as part of an antitrust settlement that paved the way for T-Mobile to acquire Sprint. The prepaid brand runs on Sprint’s 3G CDMA network, which T-Mobile plans to decommission on January 1, 2022. Once this happens, the majority of Boost’s 9 million customers are at risk of losing service.
Dish acquired Boost with a seven-year network-sharing agreement with T-Mobile. But with T-Mo’s plans to shut down the network next year, Dish has been caught off guard and its Boost Mobile customers will end up paying the price.
For its part, T-Mobile believes that they have given Dish enough time to prepare for the shutdown date. Its CEO, Mike Sievert, believes that “This is a manufactured crisis, orchestrated by Dish, and it is about money, not customers.” The executive believes that “if Dish was really concerned for customers, they would simply take real action and get their customers new phones on time, before the network upgrade happens.”
T-Mobile shared that they are also doing the same thing for the Sprint customers who will be affected by the CDMA network shutdown. And comparing this to the number of Boost customers, it is but a small percentage.
In the letter penned by the DoJ, it will have no choice but to go to court to enforce the agreement, especially if the settlement has been violated.