Yesterday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a draft order to approve the Sprint/T-Mobile merger. The move follows the Department of Justice’s approval of the deal, pending the divestiture of prepaid brands and customers, as well as several side agreements designed to accelerate Dish Network’s entry into the wireless market.
Today, 10 state attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, announced that they have filed a multi-state lawsuit to stop the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Plaintiffs include New York, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In 2011, Public Knowledge fought hard against the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, until it was finally called off just nine months after its announcement. The merger, which would have led to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers, faced tremendous opposition. Today, we see many of the same industry talking points for the T-Mobile/Sprint proposed merger: false claims about deployment of next-generation networks, market concentration, pricing, and rural broadband access. So we were glad to see that the Yale School of Management added a section on the AT&T/T-Mobile proposed merger as a case study to its Antitrust Enforcement Data project. The project, featuring a wide range of data, serves as a resource for information and economic analyses on antitrust enforcement.
Public Knowledge Senior Policy Counsel Phillip Berenbroick will testify before the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce Wednesday, February 13 at 10:00 a.m. His testimony in the hearing on “Protecting Consumers and Competition: An Examination of the T-Mobile and Sprint Merger” will argue that the proposed merger is a bad deal for consumers, competition, and America’s wireless future -- and would increase wireless prices and fail to deliver any verifiable or merger-specific benefits.
Remember when Sinclair Broadcasting Group tried to buy Tribune Media? That merger would have allowed Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households -- far, far above the Federal Communications Commission’s 39 percent audience cap. Fortunately for consumers, Tribune backed out of the deal after the FCC signaled it was unwilling to approve the transaction as structured.