Becerra lines up with CPUC on mitigating “anticompetitive” effects of T-Mobile/Sprint deal

13 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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A proposed California Public Utilities Commission decision published on Wednesday and scheduled for a vote on 16 April 2020 would allow T-Mobile to take over Sprint, and become the dominant mobile carrier in many Californian communities. The merger “is presumably anticompetitive” in at least some of those areas, according to advice from California attorney general Xavier Becerra requested and received by the CPUC…

We find that T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint will likely harm competition in 18 specific California markets for retail mobile wireless telecommunications services, resulting in higher prices and fewer choices for California consumers.


CPUC sets April target for deciding whether or not to allow T-Mobile/Sprint merger

25 February 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile san francisco 18may2019

The T-Mobile/Sprint merger will be on the California Public Utilities Commission’s 16 April 2020 agenda, for a decision one way or the other.


Yesterday, Karl Bemesderfer, the administrative law judge managing the CPUC’s review of the merger, issued a ruling that set a new schedule for the proceeding. He plans to publish a proposed decision by 13 March 2020, and he expects it’ll be taken up at the commission’s scheduled voting meeting on 16 April, which would allow for at least 30 days for the public to review and provide comments on it, per CPUC practice.… More

Federal judge matters not to California’s review of T-Mobile/Sprint deal, CPUC told

13 February 2020 by Steve Blum
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Fred gwynne judge

Opposition to the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is alive and kicking in California, as the California Public Utilities Commission’s review continues. The primary opponents of the deal – the CPUC’s public advocates office, the consumer advocacy groups TURN and the Greenlining Institute, and the Communications Workers of America union – replied to T-Mobile’s plea for immediate approval yesterday.

Like T-Mobile, the group – AKA joint advocates – made their position known in an email addressed to the CPUC commissioner and administrative law judge who are in charge of the case.… More

CPUC, Becerra yet to bless T-Mobile/Sprint deal, as California’s review extends to end of March or later

12 February 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile billboard 2 las vegas 6jan2020

T-Mobile’s proposed takeover of Sprint was approved by federal judge Victor Marrero in New York yesterday. That leaves a separate, and more focused, federal court case in Washington, D.C. and the California Public Utilities Commission’s review as the final regulatory hurdles that the merger must clear.

Yesterday was also the 30-day public review deadline for the CPUC to post a draft decision that could be considered at its 12 March 2020 meeting. That didn’t happen, so the soonest the CPUC could approve or deny the merger will be at its 26 March 2020 meeting, unless 1.… More

CPUC decision on T-Mobile/Sprint merger fades to March or later, as state attorneys general ask DC judge to wait

29 January 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile store la 23oct2019

The California Public Utilities Commission won’t vote on approving – or not – T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint until mid-March at the earliest, assuming there’s no extraordinary attempt to speed up a decision. Yesterday was the 30-day deadline for posting a draft decision ahead of the commission’s 27 February 2020 voting meeting.

After that, the next scheduled meeting is on 12 March 2020. There’s no particular reason, though, to expect a draft decision to be published in time to make that meeting.… More

California attorney general’s opposition to T-Mobile/Sprint deal will be the deciding factor in CPUC’s review

21 January 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile san francisco 18may2019

Advice from California’s attorney general hasn’t played much of a role in the California Public Utilities Commission’s review of major telecoms mergers in recent years, but T-Mobile’s proposed takeover of Sprint will be different. Attorney general Xavier Becerra’s forceful opposition to the merger will, all but certainly, figure prominently in whatever decision the CPUC makes.

When evaluating major transactions involving regulated utilities, state law requires the CPUC to “request an advisory opinion from the attorney general regarding whether competition will be adversely affected and what mitigation measures could be adopted”.… More

What Becerra will tell the CPUC about T-Mobile/Sprint merger

20 January 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile billboard las vegas 6jan2020

California’s attorney general has more than one roadblock he can try to throw into T-Mobile’s path to a takeover of Sprint. The antitrust suit that Xavier Becerra and other state attorneys general filed in a New York federal court is one possibility. Closing arguments were made in that case last week – the judge hearing it didn’t ask any questions, so there are no clues about what he’s thinking. His decision is expected in the late February/early March time frame.… More

“Fleas of a thousand dogs” add gravitas to T-Mobile/Sprint merger as court challenge wraps up

15 January 2020 by Steve Blum
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Dog scratch

T-Mobile and Sprint square off today against a coalition of state attorneys general in a federal courtroom in New York, during closing arguments in a trial to determine whether their proposed merger violates antitrust laws. It’s one of the last hurdles for the deal, which has been under regulatory review since 2018.

Approval (or not) by the California Public Utilities Commission is also pending, as is a separate, more technical federal court review in Washington, D.C.… More

Privacy is now a Made in California product

2 January 2020 by Steve Blum
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California’s data privacy law took effect yesterday, although formal regulations and active enforcement by the attorney general’s office don’t kick in until July. Even so, the AG plans to respond to complaints and monitor compliance with the bits of the law that do have teeth now. Until – unless – congress does something, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is the national standard.

If you want confirmation, just look in your email inbox. If it’s anything like mine, it’s full of CCPA notifications.… More

California’s review of T-Mobile/Sprint merger could turn into March madness

26 December 2019 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile arena

The CPUC’s review of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is likely to run for two or three more months. The briefs filed last week were the last item on the schedule set in October, but that’s not necessarily the end of the road. Rebuttals might be allowed. Other kinds of requests that might result in a delay are possible, although T-Mobile seems to have put aside the sandbagging and stonewalling tactics that cost it at least a couple of months of extra time earlier this year.… More