T-Mobile, Dish Continue Petty Squabbles As Sprint Merger 'Solution' Looks Shaky

from the dysfunction-junction dept

To gain regulatory approval for its $26 billion merger with Sprint, T-Mobile made numerous promises. One was that the deal would immediately create jobs (there've been 5,000 layoffs so far). Another was that the company would work closely with Dish Network to help them build a fourth wireless network that would replace Sprint, theoretically "fixing" the reduction in competition the deal created. As predicted, that plan isn't working out so well.

T-Mobile was supposed to closely shepherd Dish's own network build over a period of 7 years, but the two companies have proven largely incapable of getting along. Recently, Dish accused T-Mobile of shutting down its 3G (CDMA) network (which Dish is currently using as it builds a 5G network) prematurely. T-Mobile in turn accused Dish of being too cheap to pay for 4G and 5G upgraded phones for its fairly tiny userbase. This week T-Mobile balked, issuing a hilariously passive aggressive press release saying T-Mobile would be leaving its 3G network on for a little bit longer because Dish was, effectively, incompetent:

"Recently it’s become increasingly clear that some of those partners haven’t followed through on their responsibility to help their customers through this shift. So, we’re stepping up on their behalf. We have made the decision to extend our deadline for the CDMA sunset by three months to March 31, 2022."

Salty! T-Mobile goes on to accuse Dish of being generally terrible, and throws in a few references to the "digital divide" for good measure:

"There should be no more room for excuses. We have provided even more time and those partners can follow suit with the effort that is needed to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide."

Recall that it's T-Mobile that spent millions of dollars lobbying the Trump administration (including spending more money at Trump's hotel) to approve a $29 billion merger with Sprint that experts warned would reduce competition, ultimately raise consumer prices, and result in thousands of lost jobs. And recall that the Trump DOJ and FCC approved T-Mobile's demands before even seeing the full impact analysis of the deal.

Then, to provide cover for the approval of a deal most folks didn't think should have been approved due to competitive harm, Trumpland and T-Mobile came up with the idea of creating an entirely new wireless carrier out of Dish Network (a company with a long history of empty promises in wireless) and some twine. The deal was crafted by folks who like to wax poetic about how government shouldn't meddle in business, yet now expect the U.S. government to mommy Dish and T-Mobile's attempts to create an entirely new competitor. A plan you wouldn't need if government had just blocked the deal and forced Sprint to find outside investment (Amazon, Google, Comcast, whoever).

But T-Mobile and Dish can't even get along long enough to make it out of the first several years of the plan. And Dish continues to delay the launch of any meaningful wireless network. I still tend to think this ends with Dish stringing the FCC along for a few years on network build obligations until it can cash out of its vast spectrum holdings and head for the exits. Then, over time, investors will pressure the remaining three wireless providers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon) to progressively exploit the dwindling competition and stop competing so intensely on price.

In most countries (Ireland, Canada, many European countries) the reduction of overall wireless competitors from four to three via merger and consolidation always ends badly. I tend to think Trumpland regulators and T-Mobile knew this from the outset, and this entire deal was crafted to help them pretend that wasn't going to happen this time.

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Filed Under: competition, doj, fcc, mobile service, mvno, promises, spectrum
Companies: dish, sprint, t-mobile


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2021 @ 7:16am

    "Why do we need more than one phone company if I only have one phone?" - idiots

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Gvrnmnt, 29 Oct 2021 @ 3:35am

      Re:

      I mean one company could work if

      a) Mobile commincations/information access would be viewed as infrastructure
      b) Is handled by the government
      c) The government actually does its job and keep infrastructure running

      Offcourse infrastructure in for profit hands doesn't work.
      And governments around the world manage to keep spahning there infrasturcture up.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Oct 2021 @ 7:41am

    My shocked face... once again the corporations lied to everyone.
    This never happens, they would never do this.
    bursts into laughter

    Perhaps it is time that citizens stop pretending the culture war matters & start asking why our leaders manage to keep believing the same lies over & over that lead to us having to bail out corporations & pay higher prices for less service.

    Our leaders are bought and paid for, and they do NOT have our best interest at heart. Perhaps it is time to use your vote as reminder that it doesn't matter how much you pocket from backroom deals, we will vote your asses out until we get leadership that puts us first & when they are lied to actually punishes the liars rather than hand them more gifts.

    It won't happen, because people are deeply delusional believing that their preferred leader actually cares about what they want & isn't just scamming them to stay in power longer & increase their networth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ilgeo (profile), 28 Oct 2021 @ 8:58am

    Status of Divestiture of Sprint Assets to Dish

    It would be interesting to see if a monitoring trustee was ever appointed..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 28 Oct 2021 @ 12:16pm

    Can anyone?

    Who thinks they can Tell corps how to run a capitalist system?

    Move aside Democratic system, goodbye republic.
    Gov. isnt doing its job of getting things FAIRLY done for the public.
    If you want a capitalist system, then let it ALL become capitalist, and even how the gov. is run.
    LET them Buy out the other corps, and Run them as utilities. Then you wont have Boss's and CEO and Board of directors, all making 100 times the wages of the employees. pure profit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobba, 29 Oct 2021 @ 10:35pm

    You're obviously an idiot

    The liberal mindset will never cover news in a newsworthy way. If you can't put your bias aside and write the truth, no one will ever move forward. Tmo has held up their end of the bargain. Where are the new sites Dish needs to build to male a viable network? Tmo will host Dish customers for years to come, and Dish knows that, which is why they haven't provided any inventive to their customers to upgrade to phones that can benefit from the new Tmo network while they wait for the Dish promises to come true. This has NOTHING to do with Trump, or the $$ spent at Trump hotels. It has to do with a poorly run company (Dish) that has no clue how to create a wireless network.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2021 @ 5:51am

    A company proves incompetent at setting up its own competitor. I am shocked!

    I assume shutting down 3G is just a way of cracking down on any old phones that might be deficient in surveillance devices. Too few cameras, poor GPS integration with the accelerometer if the mark tries to wrap it in conductor, not as good at seeing in the dark when it is "powered down", something. Can anybody here elaborate on what exactly the companies were after when they did this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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