Back in May, after T-Mobile agreed to a bunch of conditions (including a three-year price freeze and a promise to cover 97% of the country with low-band 5G signals within three years), FCC Chairman Ait Pai said that he would recommend that his fellow commissioners sign off on the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already approved the deal after setting up Dish Network to replace Sprint as the "fourth nationwide facilities-based network competitor." With the FCC vote due soon, several Democrats are asking the FCC to delay the tally so that the public has a chance to comment on it. Considering that Pai is a Trump appointee and has shown loyalty to the president, we don't expect any delay to take place.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) wrote a letter to the FCC (via The Verge) asking the agency to delay voting on the $26.5 billion merger until the public has the opportunity to comment on it. Klobuchar has supported the lawsuit filed by 15 state attorneys general and the AG of Washington D.C. that seeks to block the deal. A trial is slated to begin on December 9th, and both wireless operators have reportedly begun very preliminary settlement talks in an attempt to get the suit dropped. However, one person with knowledge of the talks says that both sides are "miles apart." Senator Klobuchar's letter is also 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).It appears that those complaining about the transaction don't fully understand the implications of the deal with Dish, or don't believe that it will lead to a competitive replacement for Sprint. Our position all along has been that a combined T-Mobile-Sprint would provide more challenges to Verizon and AT&T than the status quo. Democratic presidential candidate
T-Mobile wants Sprint's mid-range 2.5GHz spectrum to help it build out its 5G network
T-Mobile would like to merge with Sprint in order to obtain the latter's hoard of mid-range 2.5GHz spectrum. By adding the mid-range airwaves to its low-frequency 600MHz holdings and its mmWave spectrum, T-Mobile hopes to be the first wireless operator in the U.S. to complete the build-out of a nationwide 5G network sometime next year. Just in case the merger does not close, the carrier has reportedly been asking the FCC to auction off some mid-band spectrum in the 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz range. Because it is the fastest-growing of the major U.S. wireless providers, T-Mobile won't be as negatively affected as Sprint or Dish Network if the deal cannot overcome the obstacles that have been thrown in its way.