T-Mobile’s actions mean its California obligations “will be taken lightly” or “totally ignored”, CPUC told

10 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile 5g small towns 6jan2020

A final flurry of rebuttals defending and attacking T-Mobile’s de facto takeover of Sprint landed at the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday. The bulk of the comments amount to what I said before. But there are some interesting bits amongst all that.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) – the primary telecoms union in California – unearthed a U.S. congressional report from 1993, when the lines were drawn between state and federal jurisdiction over mobile carriers.… More

T-Mobile pauses merger of Sprint operations in California, but only until next week

9 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile billboard las vegas 6jan2020

In a whirlwind of conference calls with California Public Utilities Commission staff and one key commissioner, T-Mobile said it would abide by an order that stopped its merger with Sprint on an operational level in California, at least until next week’s CPUC meeting. When the two companies closed their deal last week without permission from the CPUC staff, commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, who is in charge of the regulatory review, quickly directed them to “not begin merger of their California operations until after the CPUC issues a final decision”.… More

Friends and foes of the T-Mobile/Sprint deal want changes to CPUC’s proposed approval

3 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile san francisco 18may2019

T-Mobile’s decision to ignore the California Public Utilities Commission and close its acquisition of Sprint without permission will result in at least some, and probably a lot, of revisions to the draft decision approving the deal that’s now waiting for a commission vote. Comments filed on Wednesday by past and present opponents of the merger don’t address T-Mobile’s regulatory insouciance – that’ll come later – but do suggest extensive changes to what’s already on the table.… More

T-Mobile, Sprint ordered to halt merger in California, but don’t seem to care what CPUC thinks

2 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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Caltrans flagger stop

T-Mobile and Sprint completed their merger yesterday morning, but they’ll have to wait at least a couple more weeks, and maybe longer, for a decision from the California Public Utilities Commission before they can begin combining their operations in California.


If they pay any attention to an order issued yesterday afternoon by CPUC commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen. Responding to a Tuesday night letter from T-Mobile’s then-COO and now CEO Michael Sievert, Rechtschaffen ruled…

[California] Public Utilities Code Section 854(a) states in relevant part that “[n]o person or corporation, whether or not organized under the laws of this state, shall merge, acquire, or control … either directly or indirectly, any public utility organized and doing business in this state without first securing authorization to do so from the commission.”


T-Mobile tells CPUC it “lacks jurisdiction” and should address its “deficiencies”, as Sprint deal closes without its permission

1 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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History of the World, Part 1 - Piss Boy

T-Mobile is doing what it planned to do all along: complete its acquisition of Sprint today, regardless of whether it has regulatory approval to do so from the California Public Utilities Commission. In a letter sent to the CPUC commissioner and the administrative law judge in charge of the merger review, T-Mobile’s chief operating officer Michael Sievert said he’s doing what he thinks he needs to do, and not only is the commission powerless to act but it should see the light and rubber stamp the deal…

Finally, as we have explained to the Commission previously, an April 1 close is critical to the parties, as accounting and financial reporting needs, and the imperative for accuracy of such reporting, significantly limit the available closing dates for the merger, and delaying beyond April 1 would result in substantial — and ever-increasing — harm and risks to [T-Mobile and Sprint].


T-Mobile goes nuclear in California, preps to close Sprint deal without CPUC’s blessing

31 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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Slim pickens rides the bomb

T-Mobile and Sprint asked to withdraw their application for California Public Utilities Commission approval of the wireline elements of their merger agreement yesterday. At the same time, Sprint sent the CPUC a letter “relinquishing its [California] certificate of public convenience and necessity” (CPCN). That sets the stage for the two companies to close their deal without CPUC permission, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, which is the day they’ve been targeting all along. It also provides a basis for challenging, if not ignoring completely, any conditions the CPUC might impose on them, such as those proposed in a draft decision that commissioners are scheduled to consider on 16 April 2020.… More

CPUC plans to police Sprint merger requirements, but T-Mobile might not play along

16 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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Jack webb 625

Improved mobile broadband coverage, workforce increases and other California-specific requirements proposed in a draft California Public Utilities Commission decision as conditions for approving the T-Mobile/Sprint merger are meaningless without enforcement. The proposed decision, published last week, takes a big step towards putting real teeth behind those requirements, but that won’t guarantee compliance by the new, bulked up T-Mobile.

The conditions, which are largely intended to fix some of the worst anti-competitive effects of the deal, include hiring an “independent monitor” to closely watch T-Mobile over the next ten years.… More

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 proposes requiring faster rural broadband, wider coverage, more California jobs to approve T-Mobile/Sprint deal

12 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile san francisco 18may2019

T-Mobile must keep the broadband availability and pricing promises it made, in order to win approval of its merger with Sprint from the California Public Utilities Commission. That’s assuming the commission adopts the proposed decision published yesterday by administrative law judge Karl Bemesderfer. As drafted, the decision would bless the deal but impose conditions that were pulled from commitments T-Mobile made directly to the CPUC during the course of the review, and to federal agencies and private organisations.… More

T-Mobile might have to live up to its own hype to gain California’s approval for Sprint deal

9 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile 5g small towns 6jan2020

While the California Public Utilities Commission drafts its decision on whether to allow the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, any outsider’s opinion on what the verdict will be is pure speculation.

So I’ll speculate.

If the CPUC follows past practice, it will allow the merger to go ahead but will impose requirements that T-Mobile will have to meet in the coming years. Those conditions might end up being the “voluntary commitments” and other plans that T-Mobile has presented to the CPUC without formally and enforceably promising to fulfil them.… More