Opponents of the proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile US have formed a coalition called 4Competition in an attempt to strengthen their efforts to convince regulators to block the merger. The coalition includes a wide range of actors, from operators such as C Spire and Dish Network to unions CWA and AFL-CIO and non-profits like Public Knowledge, the Open Markets Institute, and Fight for the Future.
Other members include Common Cause, New America’s Open Technology Institute, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, Rural Wireless Association, The Greenlining Institute, and the Writers Guild of America West. In November, the 14 groups sent a joint letter to Congress members outlining their opposition to the merger, which would reduce the US from four to three mobile network operators. While Congress does not have a say in vetting the merger, the coalition wants the legislature to hold hearings in order to raise public awareness about the implications of the deal.
The opponents claim that the merger would lead to higher prices for consumers, job losses and reduced competition, including for MVNOs seeking network access. They also dispute the claims from T-Mobile that the deal would support a faster 5G launch or improve coverage for rural mobile users.
The merger is subject to clearance by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice, and the companies aim to complete the deal in the first half of 2019. The FCC closed the period for public comments on December 4, and is now reviewing the materials before taking a decision. It is less than half way through its 180-day deadline for taking a decision.
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