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Democratic senators urge FCC to delay T-Mobile-Sprint merger vote, seek public comment



FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
Photo: Jacquelyn Martin (AP)

In July, the Justice Department cleared the planned takeover of Sprint by T-Mobile, paving the way for the nation's third and fourth largest wireless carrier to merge into titanium to AT&T and Verizon compete. Sixteen states are suing to block the merger, and now some congressional Democrats are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to delay the announced vote on whether to give the deal the final approval mark on the doorstep.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, along with Senate colleagues Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren (all currently running for president) were among those who signed a letter Friday asking the FCC to "publish a notice and seek public comment." on the proposed merger, "before proceeding to a vote. Senators have expressed widespread concern that the deal will actually hurt competition, further consolidating the wireless industry under the control of a handful of massive corporations – concerns that were apparently shared by some at the DOJ earlier this year when the agency considered the intervention.

"We have high concerns about antitrust rules regarding the impact of the proposed T-Mobile / Sprint merger on consumers, competition and the public interest," the senators wrote in the letter. "We continue to be concerned about the lack of transparency in the FCC merger review process and the uncertainty as to whether this merger will protect competition and consumers."

"For these reasons, we call on the FCC to make a public announcement and seek public comment. on the proposed merger, as amended by the consent decree and the terms set out in the letter requesting the extension of Dish before considering the merger to determine whether the transaction was in the public interest, "they added.

The revised merger deal, which cleared the DOJ check, will create Dish Network as the fourth national mobile operator to use T-Mobile's network and require the merged company to sell Dish's wireless and prepaid business spectrum. There is speculation that Dish does not intend to build a serious competitive network and intends instead to roll the spectrum for huge profits along the line. As Verge noted, Parliament's subcommittee on antitrust, commercial and administrative law, David N. Tsitsilin, also wrote a letter Thursday calling the proposal "presumably illegal within decades of a black letter and guidelines for the implementation of the merger ministry. Justice, "adding that he also believes the law requires the FCC to allow public comment before a vote.

All three FCC Republican commissioners have voiced their support for the merger, with chairman Ajit Pai arguing that the deal will lead to a faster deployment. of next-generation technology, and help bridge the so-called digital divide between richer and poorer countries. Jessica Rosenworsell, one of the two Democratic commissioners, said more competition was needed and was not convinced that the deal would lead to better service, and that the process of reviewing the deal was "extremely unusual" and resembled " rear cabinet case. "

The lawsuit filed by 16 states does not go to trial until December, with T-Mobile and Sprint agreeing that the deal will not continue until it is resolved. This means that there is enough time for the FCC to seek comment, although, of course, for the course during Pai's tenure, the agency has indicated that it intends to continue without it.

"This transaction has been pending before the Commission for more than a year and has many cycles of public comment," an FCC spokesman told Verge. "In addition, the commitments offered by T-Mobile and Sprint to the Commission have been public since May and many countries have commented on them. The time has come for Commissioners to vote and to end this procedure. “


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