Congressional Democrats are lobbying to have the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) delay an announced vote on whether to give the T-Mobile-Sprint merger the final sign of approval, reported the Verge.
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar along with Senate colleagues Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren (all currently running for president) were among those who signed a letter on Friday, August 16, asking for the FCC to “issue a public notice and seek public comment on the proposed merger” before moving to a vote.
The senators cited widespread concerns that the deal would actually hurt competition by further consolidating the wireless industry under the control of a handful of massive corporations.
“We have major antitrust concerns regarding the impact of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger on consumers, competition, and the public interest,” the senators wrote in the letter. “We remain concerned about the lack of transparency in the FCC’s merger review process and the lack of certainty on whether this merger will protect competition and consumers.”
“For these reasons, we urge the FCC to issue a public notice and seek public comment on the proposed merger as altered by the Consent Decree and the terms set forth in Dish’s extension request letter prior to its consideration of the merger to determine if this transaction is in the public interest,” they added.
The revised merger deal that cleared Justice Department scrutiny would set up Dish Network as a fourth national wireless carrier using T-Mobile’s network, as well as require the merged company to sell off wireless and prepaid business spectrum to Dish. There has been speculation that Dish has no intention of building out a serious competing network and intends to instead flip the spectrum for a huge profit down the line. As the Verge noted, House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law chairman Representative David N. Cicilline also wrote a letter on Thursday calling the proposal “presumptively illegal under decades of black letter law and the Justice Department’s merger enforcement guidelines,” adding that he also believes the law requires the FCC allow public comment before a vote.