CWA Pans T-Mobile-Sprint 'Shaky,' 'Unverifiable' Commitments

The Communications Workers of America said the new commitments offered up by T-Mobile and Sprint in an effort to get their deal approved don't cut it.

That came in a letter to the FCC Friday.

The FCC's Republican majority have signaled they will vote to approve the deal, which is the three votes it needs to at least get past the FCC--Justice has yet to weigh in.

That support was led by FCC chair Ajit Pai last week after the companies promised in a revised commitment letter to deploy out 5G on a specific timetable--particularly to rural areas--and spin off low-cost prepaid subsidiary, Boost Mobile.

But CWA said the new commitments fail to address the harms of the loss of 30,000 jobs--T-Mobile continues to maintain that merger will create jobs, but the definition of just who will keep or lose their jobs in that alleged net gain is a point of contention.

CWA also said the the rural deployment commitments are unverifiable and leave "as many as 39.2 million rural households without access to the 'New T-Mobile’s' high-speed 5G network.

T-Mobile and Sprint have also agreed to pay billions if they miss the do not fulfill the commitments, but CWA says "not only are they tax-deductible as 'voluntary contributions' to the U.S. Treasury, they represent an infinitesimal portion of the $74 billion 2018 pro forma revenue of the combined T-Mobile-Sprint."

"The Applicants’ commitments are simply a wish list of shaky, unverifiable promises," CWA said. "The Commission should not approve the proposed transaction."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.