FCC OKs T-Mobile/Dish MVNO

The FCC is satisfied that the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) agreement the combined T-Mobile-Sprint has created for Boost Mobile passes muster. 

One of the major conditions of the merger was that the Boost Mobile prepaid wireless business be spun off to Dish, which would eventually be turned into a facilities-based carrier to compete with T-Mobile and AT&T and Verizon, but in the interim would need to use T-Mobile's facilities (the "virtual" in MVNO). 

Related: Analyst Says Merger Could Create Problems for Dish

In a letter to T-Mobile, the FCC's co-leads on the merger said they were convinced that the agreement was consistent with the FCC's goals in requiring the spin-off, which were "(1) Wholesale Network Pricing; (2) Discrimination and Competitive Constraints; (3) Long-Term Competition and Facilities Deployment; and (4) a Stable Transition of New Boost’s Operations." 

Related: Pai Recommends T-Mobile-Sprint Merger 

They said that the pricing would allow New Boost to make decisions "similar to a facilities-based carrier" and would allow them to be aggressive competitors and was a better deal than any other MVNO had with T-Mobile or, previously, with Sprint. Dish will get terms at least as favorable as T-Mobile's Metro PCS prepaid business. 

Dish can also use its own spectrum so the MVNO can be an on-ramp to its own facilities-based 5G network.  

"After a careful review of the submitted materials, we find that your MVNO agreement with DISH is consistent with these principles," said Charles Mathias and Catherine Matraves, co-directors of the T-Mobile-Sprint Task Force, in a letter to the company. 


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.