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Sprint pays former Obama aide to lobby on behalf of its merger with T-Mobile

Sprint pays former Obama aide to lobby on behalf of its merger with T-Mobile
A disclosure form submitted to the House and Senate by Sprint (via The Hill) reveals that former Obama aide Broderick Johnson has been lobbying on behalf of the wireless provider. Johnson has been working for Sprint since February 4th, trying to convince Democrats in Congress to back its $26.5 billion merger with T-Mobile. Many Democrats in the House and Senate have opposed the deal due to fears that it lessens competition in the wireless market. After all, if the deal is completed, the number of major stateside carriers will drop by 25% from four to three. Still, the deal does have some support from a few House Democrats, and the lobbying has helped others change their position on the merger.

T-Mobile says that the deal with Sprint needs to close in order for all Americans to have an opportunity to connect to a 5G network. Earlier today, we told you about some comments posted by T-Mobile's Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray. The executive said that T-Mobile's mmWave spectrum, combined with the carrier's low-frequency airwaves and Sprint's mid-range spectrum, would be the only way for the country to use the faster 5G data speeds to produce innovative services and businesses.

Besides Johnson, who was an assistant to President Obama and his liaison with Cabinet members from 2014 to 2017, former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is advising T-Mobile and Sprint on the proposed transaction. Despite this firepower, a report published by the Wall Street Journal last week cites those familiar with the matter as saying that the Justice Department has told both carriers that the deal, as presently structured, is unlikely to be approved.

While Sprint has turned to an Obama aide to help get the merger through regulatory agencies, T-Mobile decided to spend $195,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. Many criticized T-Mobile and its CEO John Legere for the rather blatant attempt to curry favor with the president.

Besides needing approval from the DOJ, the merger also needs a thumbs up from the FCC.

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