The T-Mobile-Sprint merger has gotten closer to FCC approval, ironically due to the no vote from Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.
The three Republican commissioners have already signed off on the merger, which leaves only Democrat Geoffrey Starks' vote before the approval can become official. He was not available to comment at press time on whether he has also voted the item.
“We’ve all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one," said Rosenworcel in casting her vote. "Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will reduce competition, raise prices, lower quality, and slow innovation.
"Moreover, the remedies that are supposed to save consumers from the problems with this merger do little more than camouflage its harm. With 5G on the horizon, our dependence on wireless connectivity is bound to grow. It’s not the time to count on ineffective deployment commitments, higher prices, and less vigorous competition to help the benefit of this new technology reach us all."
The deal conditions include efforts to turn Dish into the fourth independent facilities-based carrier that Sprint has been.
"Finally, the process that got us here is equally troubling. Three of my colleagues agreed to this transaction months ago without having any legal, engineering, or economic analysis from the agency before us. Consumers deserve better from the Washington authorities charged with reviewing this transaction.”
The Justice Department has already agreed not to block the deal based on the conditions in its settlement with the companies to address its competition concerns, principally the spin-off of Boost Mobile to Dish, but a federal district court still has to sign off on the settlement.
Rosenworcel was no fan of the Justice settlement, and called on the FCC to solicit new comment on the deal before voting, which did not happen.