Back in September, the FCC paused the clock on the 180-day review period for T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger plans and asked for more documentation. Now, after the carriers filed the requested details, the FCC is asking the public to weigh in on the matter.
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As noted by the FCC, the latest filing includes new data and a “substantial body of new material.”
On November 6, 2018, the Applicants filed a new econometric study with the Commission. The new study describes itself as a “merger simulation offer[ing] an economically coherent framework, grounded in detailed industry data, for understanding the competitive significance of the proposed merger.” The analysis represents a substantial body of new material on economic issues central to the review of the proposed transaction. It relies on a newly submitted data set and new methodologies to reach conclusions about the specific effects of the transaction not previously in the record.
Due to the changes, comments are open on the new filing until December 4th, 2018 and can be filed electronically or via snail mail. The 180-day clock has been paused at 55 days into the review since September 11th, but will resume once the comment period is closed.
Some progress in favor of the merger deal came two weeks ago as T-Mobile’s parent company voted for the deal as the majority shareholder of the un-carrier.
However, as we’ve previously reported, there are those concerned with the deal, like the Communication Workers of America, that believes the merger would mean 30,000 lost jobs.
CWA believes that the new filing shows a shift in the argument that T-Mobile and Sprint previously made and that the original rhetoric wasn’t “persuasive.” CWA’s Debbie Goldman shared a comment on the latest development.
Why is T-Mobile hitting the reset button and making a completely different argument than they have advanced up until now? This shift in strategy suggests that the company’s earlier economic arguments and analysis were not persuasive — something we pointed out in our comments to the FCC. Why choose now, after the close of the comment period, to adopt an entirely new line of argument from an entirely new set of economists? T-Mobile’s justifications are a moving target, underscoring that analysts who confidently predict merger approval have not been paying attention. Careful analysis of the merger continues to show it would harm the public interest by eliminating 30,000 jobs, reducing competition, and raising prices for consumers.
For their part, T-Mobile and Sprint have shared the benefits they expect to come from a merger on the New T-Mobile website.