Skip to main content

Top Democrats want to kill the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

Top Democrats want to kill the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

/

It’s a $26 billion deal that could dramatically change the wireless landscape

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Today, a group of Democratic senators wrote to officials at the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, asking that they strike down a proposed merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) led eight of his colleagues in the letters, which are addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim.

“Our enforcement officials are the last line of defense preventing reconsolidation of our telecommunications markets at the expense of American consumers,” the senators wrote. “We urge you to act to prevent this dangerous merger from proceeding.”

“We are deeply concerned”

The group includes some of the Democratic Party’s most prominent leaders, such as Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), who have all announced that they were running for president in the past few weeks. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who are anticipated to launch 2020 campaigns soon, also signed on.

“We are deeply concerned that the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile in particular will eliminate competition that has been shown to benefit consumers and stifle the emergence of new carriers,” the senators added.

The proposed $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint was announced last April and is currently under review by both the FCC and the DOJ. If approved, the deal would shrink the United States’ major wireless carrier pool to three down from four, including AT&T and Verizon.

Executives from both T-Mobile and Sprint have said that the merger would help them deploy 5G wireless networks at a faster rate and would, in time, drive down consumer plan prices. In their letter, the senators argued that this just wasn’t the case.

“The best way to achieve the goal of high-quality, affordable, nationwide 5G is through competitive markets,” the senators wrote. “This merger moves us further away from the sort of competition we need to accomplish this aim. It will lead to excessive consolidation and undermine innovation.”

The letter comes amid an already tough week on Capitol Hill for the carriers. Lawmakers on the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing n Wednesday to analyze the proposed merger deal. T-Mobile and Sprint executives are expected to testify at both hearings.

Updated 1/12/18 5:53 p.m. ET: This story originally said that the House Judiciary Committee would be holding a hearing on the T-Mobile-Sprint merger on Thursday. This hearing has been postponed.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago Not just you

E
Twitter
Emma RothTwo hours ago
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma Roth8:01 PM UTC
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma Roth5:52 PM UTC
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.