T-Mobile CEO John Legere was speaking confidently Friday (Feb. 22) about prospects for the merger with Sprint, which is currently being vetted by the FCC, Justice Department and state regulators, saying he still expected it to secure approval by June.
"The great news is we are moving forward positively," he blogged, pointing to the approvals from 16 of the needed 19 state utility commissions.
It was not clear whether his enthusiasm was based on any new insider insight or an effort to counter the deal's critics. He did say: "Don’t let some of the headlines confuse you." For example, a headline Thursday (Feb. 21) in a release from deal critic Communications Workers of America read: "T-Mobile Feels Heat on Jobs-Related Concerns, Lashes Out with Unsubstantiated and Hypocritical Attacks."
Legere listed the deal's supporters, including the 13 members of Congress led by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.), saying: "I always love it when so many important and smart people and organizations recognize how beneficial this transaction will be for consumers and for the country!"
But he was less sanguine about the deal's critics, saying many were "buzzing around with a lot of inaccurate claims and made up data," trying to "scare people" away from the creation of a "supercharged un-carrier," which has become his nickname for the new company, an effort to rebrand what others argue would be reducing the number three and four carriers competing against themselves as well as AT&T and Verizon into another telco giant.
Legere said many of the groups opposing the deal are newly formed coalitions with covert funding and hidden agendas.
He said the heart of the deal is rolling out 5G nationwide, versus a lesser rollout if the two companies were forced to tackle it individually.
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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.