Today, at a press conference held at the New York State Attorney General’s Office in New York City, the Rural Wireless Association stood in support of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit to block the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. RWA has been a vocal critic of the merger conditions proposed by T-Mobile and Sprint (“New T-Mobile”), which are based on vague and unsubstantiated promises, and of the support these proposed conditions have received from the three Republican members of the Federal Communications Commission. As RWA and numerous other telecommunications industry participants have explained, New T-Mobile’s proposed self-imposed “verification and enforcement regime” will not ensure the merged company upholds any of the numerous promises it has made to the FCC and the Department of Justice.
“This merger is bad for competition. It is bad for consumers, especially those living in or traveling through rural areas, who will experience fewer choices, price increases, and substandard service,” stated Carri Bennet, RWA’s General Counsel. “We are pleased that the New York Attorney General has filed a lawsuit to block the merger and that, unlike certain FCC Commissioners, she has not been wooed by T-Mobile’s flashy language and false promises, which in reality are nothing more than smoke and mirrors” she said.
T-Mobile has a record of harming consumers, especially those living and traveling in rural America. As RWA has repeatedly pointed out, T-Mobile has blocked its own customers from completing phone calls to those living in rural America and has blocked its own customers from accessing rural wireless networks. Moreover, T-Mobile has repeatedly exaggerated its coverage maps, which is one of the many concerns RWA, state public service agencies, and members of Congress have pointed to with respect to how New T-Mobile will treat rural Americans in a post-merger world. Now, however, New T-Mobile claims it is going to build out 5G services to 99 percent of rural Americans in 6 years if the deal is allowed to go through. New T-Mobile’s proposed 5G buildout “commitments” are nothing more than open-ended statements, with no concrete plan of action, yet the FCC appears to be buying it.
Thankfully, New York Attorney General Letitia James, along with nine other state attorneys general, has stepped forward and done the right thing for all consumers by filing today’s lawsuit to block the merger. The Department of Justice should now do the same.