Dems Seek Public Comment on T-Mobile-Sprint Conditions

A handful of Democratic senators have asked FCC chair Ajit Pai to put the new T-Mobile-Sprint conditions offered up this week out for public comment before voting on the deal.  

Pai said this week that the conditions, including spinning off Boost Mobile, holding down prices and pledging 5G buildouts, made the deal in the public interest and he planned to circulate an order approving it, which his fellow Republican commissioners, comprising a majority, indicated they would support. 

In the letter, the senators, who opposed the deal as previously constituted, said they still oppose it and asked both the FCC and Justice Department to reject it.  

Related: FCC Poised to OK T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

They cited the behavioral conditions, but made no mention of the Boost spin-off. 

They said the conditions are mostly unrelated to merger-specific harms and thus the type of condition the chairman has criticized in the past. They also said they were worried about the process and that the conditions appeared without public input or "visibility." 

As a result, they said, the FCC should give the public 30 days to weigh in on the conditions, though they did not need that long to say they don't think they make the deal palatable.  

Signing on to the letter were Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey (both D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). 

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.