U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement indicating he will recommend approval of the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and five leading Democratic senators called on the FCC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reject the merger and to open a 30-day public comment period on the proposal.
“We are concerned that this four-to-three merger does not serve the public interest and would result in substantial anticompetitive effects, harming consumers, workers, and innovation,” wrote Udall, and U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), in a letter to Pai and Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim.
The senators wrote that the proposed behaviorial conditions and voluntary commitments that T-Mobile and Sprint have offered to try to win regulatory approval are vague and wholly insufficient. “Among other issues, the behavioral conditions and voluntary commitments offered are filled with loopholes, lack meaningful enforcement mechanisms, and do not come close to ameliorating the negative effects that a reduction in wireless competition would cause for consumers across the country, including the wholesale and prepaid markets,” the senators wrote.
“Ironically, in his statement, Chairman Pai has endorsed a set of conditions that are almost entirely behavioral in nature and unrelated to any merger-specific harms – precisely the type of conditions which both of you have so strongly criticized in the past,” the senators continued.
The senators called attention to the lack of transparency that led to Pai’s commitment, calling for a 30-day public comment period so the public can weigh in. “In addition, we are concerned about the process by which these commitments came about – without any public input or visibility. We agree with Commissioner Rosenworcel that the FCC ‘should put them out for comment so the public can tell us just what they think about this new proposal.’ Therefore, we request that the FCC let in light on T-Mobile’s substantially revised merger plans and allow for a 30-day comment period so that interested parties may evaluate T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposals,” the senators wrote.
The full text of the senators’ letter is available HERE. The letter follows a February letter, led by Blumenthal, to FCC and DOJ.