WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission approved the T-Mobile/Sprint deal, with Chairman Ajit Pai and his fellow GOP commissioners voting in the majority and Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks dissenting.
The merger would leave the United States with just three viable nationwide wireless-service providers. It would crush competition, raise prices and eliminate thousands of jobs, according to union estimates. It would disproportionately harm low-income people and communities of color, who rely on competition among T-Mobile and Sprint and their subsidiaries to keep access affordable.
The Justice Department signed off on the deal in July after ignoring the guidance of its own antitrust experts. A lawsuit to block the merger from more than a dozen state attorneys general plus the District of Columbia is proceeding.
Free Press Campaign Manager Nilda Muhr made the following statement:
“Chairman Pai has finally gotten an FCC vote on his predetermined conclusion that the T-Mobile/Sprint merger benefits wireless consumers. He decided months ago that he would approve the deal, even as FCC staff were still conducting their review.
“Given the harmful impacts of this merger and the shady manner in which the FCC’s approval was reached behind closed doors, the public should have had the opportunity to weigh in and comment before the full agency voted. But Pai’s FCC doesn’t care about public input.
“The good news is that attorneys general from more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia have joined a lawsuit to block the merger. Free Press looks forward to the state AGs trying their case in front of an impartial court. And we’ll keep fighting to stop this dangerous merger from being realized.
“Despite Chairman Pai’s bogus claims, nothing about this deal would lower prices for customers or lead to faster 5G deployment. And the loss of competition would disproportionately harm low-income people and communities of color.
“Ultimately, this matter will be decided on the facts in court, and those facts show that this deal is both awful and unlawful.”