OTI Condemns FCC’s ‘Blind Rubber-Stamping’ of T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Press Release
Flickr Creative Commons
Aug. 14, 2019

Today, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced an order that would approve T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint and a secretly-negotiated side deal with Dish Network. Chairman Pai circulated the order with the other commissioners without releasing it publicly or seeking public comments. Earlier this week, OTI and a coalition of consumer and labor groups asked the FCC to put the proposal out for public comment. Texas, New York, California, the District of Columbia, and 12 other states are suing to block the merger.

The following quote can be attributed to Joshua Stager, senior counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute:

"The FCC's blind rubber-stamping of this merger is an embarrassment to the agency and a slap in the face to the American people. The courts have repeatedly ruled against this FCC for violating the Administrative Procedure Act, but today's action is a new low. The Trump Administration secretly negotiated a side deal with Dish. It’s a massive, convoluted scheme that would dramatically upend the wireless market, raise consumer prices, and kill jobs—and the American people aren't being allowed to comment on it. They can’t even see the FCC’s draft order.

“Bottom line: we need more competition in the wireless market, not less. The states get this—which is why 16 of them are suing to block the merger—but the federal government continues to find new ways to get it wrong.”