The wonderfulness of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is only more wonderful, CPUC told

8 November 2019 by Steve Blum
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Tmobile store la 23oct2019

T-Mobile, Sprint and DISH filed their responses to the latest questions posed by the California Public Utilities Commission as it extends its review of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger to take into account the settlement reached by the companies with federal anti-trust attorneys.

I’m still working through the nearly 200 pages of “testimony”, particularly the statements by T-Mobile executives. From a quick scan, it looks like they’re following the line laid down by the company’s lawyers: nothing to see here, move on. But more on that later. Or check out the links below.

DISH’s chief D.C. staff lobbyist, Jeff Blum, responded to the question posed by commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen in his ruling extending the CPUC’s review: “what are DISH Network’s California service obligations?”. Responded, but didn’t exactly answer. He detailed DISH’s federal obligations, and since California is still arguably one of the fifty United States the implication is those apply equally here. But he also laid out the fine print, which details granular requirements with granular penalties for granular non-compliance, which doesn’t exactly guarantee that DISH will do anything in particular in California.

Two Sprint executives – chief commercial officer Brandon Draper and staff lobbyist Peter Sywenki – filed declarations that amounted to I know nothing. Since they don’t work for T-Mobile, they aren’t “privy to [T-Mobile’s] business and network plans”.

Two hired gun economists, Mark Israel and Timothy Bresnahan, affirmed their previous paid testimony in support of the merger and offered assurances that what that they described the first time around was, if anything, even better than they thought.

Supplemental Testimony of G. Michael Sievert, 7 November 2019
Supplemental Testimony of Neville R. Ray, 7 November 2019
Supplemental Testimony of Thomas C. Keys, 7 November 2019
Testimony of Jeff Blum on behalf of Dish Network Corporation, 7 November 2019
Supplemental Testimony of Brandon Dow Draper, 7 November 2019
Supplemental Testimony of Peter N. Sywenki, 7 November 2019
Supplemental Testimony of Mark A. Israel, 7 November 2019
Supplemental Testimony of Timothy F. Bresnahan, 7 November 2019

Links to the stack of arguments and exhibits everyone has filed are here.

I don’t know who Jeff Blum is, and he’s not my dad. My dad was Geoff Blum. My clients include California cities who do business with T-Mobile. I like to think that has no bearing on my commentary, but I like to think I’m good looking too. My dad was amused by that. Take it for what it’s worth.