Every company talking to the FCC about the T-Mobile-Sprint merger has an ax to grind
As the FCC and FTC mull over their response to the proposed T-Mobile merger with Sprint, the FCC in particular has been bombarded with comments from companies and people who believe that they will be affected by the transaction. For example, you have the Communications Workers of America (CWA) complaining to the agency via a letter, stating that the deal will lead to the loss of 30,000 jobs. The CAW sees T-Mobile cutting duplicate positions and shutting retail stores that have overlapping reach.
As mentioned in a new report, a small regional wireless firm called CSpire, which has 1 million customers in the Southeast, is firmly against the transaction. CSpire wrote in a letter to the FCC that "The public interest will be best served by a denial of the Proposed Transaction which, if allowed, will remove Sprint, the acknowledged low cost provider of wholesale services, from the market." What really has CSpire upset can be determined from a request it made to the FCC that in the case it approves the merger, it forces T-Mobile to maintain Sprint's CDMA network for at least five years. It seems that CSpire needs Sprint to stick around so it can continue to be a valuable roaming partner for the sixth largest wireless provider in the U.S.
A highly redacted letter to the FCC from Dish Network states that the latter is worried about prices going up after the merger. Instead of the economic benefits touted by T-Mobile and Sprint, Dish tells the FCC that "American consumers cannot afford the increases that this merger will likely produce on top of these already high prices."
An unlikely supporter of the merger is AT&T. A report sent to clients by New Street Research says that Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, would like to see the T-Mobile-Sprint merger approved without any conditions. That sounds a little strange since a merged T-Mobile-Sprint would be going after AT&T as soon as the deal closes. But as it turns out, Stephenson does have one little request. He doesn't want the FCC to order the combined company to divest any of its assets, including pre-paid operations, to AT&T's competitors.
And while it seems that everyone in the U.S. wireless industry has a reason for the deal to be stopped, T-Mobile still expects its merger with Sprint to close in the first half of 2019 or earlier.