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T-Mobile Requesting CPUC to Ease Conditions for Merger Approval

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T-Mobile and Sprint may have announced their merger in April, but they still have to complete some of the requirements by the DOJ. In addition to that, they also have to get an approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Early this year, the two companies received the green light from the CPUC with a few conditions in place. Now it looks like T-Mobile is hoping some of those requirements will be eased up.

In a letter sent to the CPUC today, T-Mobile asked the agency to ease three of the conditions involved in its merger approval. One of those requirements is that T-Mobile will be providing 5G speeds of at least 300Mbps to 93 percent of the population of California before 2024. With the way things are going right now, T-Mobile requests this date to be pushed back to 2026.

T-Mobile explained that the original 2024 deadline was set for a six-year period after the merger closed. The regulatory process of the deal started in 2018 but they weren't able to close the deal until 2020. In line with this, T-Mobile wants the deadline to be pushed back a couple of years too.

Another request made by the Un-Carrier is that the 300Mbps/2024 condition is no longer in sync with the rest of the requirements. T-Mobile pointed out that there is a condition requiring T-Mobile to offer 100Mbps speed to at least 86 percent of the population by 2023. The wireless provider is then required to triple those speeds to 300Mbps and cover 93 percent of the state's population in a period of one year. By 2026, T-Mobile is expected to have a minimum of 100Mbps speed for 99 percent of the population. Since this seems like a redundant requirement, T-Mobile is pushing for the 300Mbps requirement for 2026 in order to "avoid anomalous results."

T-Mobile also wants the CPUC to change its employment condition. Originally, the agency required the wireless provider to add 1,000 new jobs in California within 3 years compared to the number of employees of T-Mobile and Sprint at the time of approval. Instead, the carrier wants to keep the same number of employees 3 years after merger closure when it was approved. In fact, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert clarified that "We committed to the CPUC that in 3 years T-Mobile would have at least as many jobs in CA as we did when the merger closed."




With the ongoing health crisis and its effects in the economy, T-Mobile says the requirement is "particularly burdensome and unjustified." The carrier also pointed out that the CPUC "simply does not have the authority to require a wireless carrier to hire a particular number of employees in a given time period."

Lastly, T-Mobile wants to change network testing condition that will confirm these requirements have been met. The original deal says that T-Mobile will be subject to tests created by the staff of CPUC or one of its contractors. T-Mobile contests this by saying it is already subject to two different tests being done or overseen by third-parties, which include an FCC drive test. If a third test is done by the CPUC, it would be "burdensome" and "inefficient."

As of this writing, T-Mobile and the CPUC have not issued an official statement about these new requests.

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3 comments:

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  1. Yeah, so much for "un-carrier" in yet another way. The history of telecommunication since the 1984 breakup is rife with wonderful sounding promises that are quickly forgotten as soon as the company offering the promise got what it wanted. Check out the link for a T-Mobile attack on AT&T for a "record of broken promises." Once again, promises and commitments are only for the little guy.

    https://www.t-mobile.com/news/att-plays-a-broken-record-of-broken-promises

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  2. It appears that T-Mobile appeased the C.P.U.C. and found a home for their California Boost Mobile low income customers instead of casting them off to the wind with the possibility of no service on July 1, 2020.

    This program is specific to California. Not widely or known or made very public - but the California Public Utilities Commission (C.P.U.C.) has directed T-Mobile and Sprint NOT to transfer ANY of the Boost Mobile customers who are receiving any public purpose benefits (discounts) under the CARE and I-Foster programs to Dish Network. These programs are a California-specific subset of the Lifeline low income program.

    Dish Network has not applied nor is applying to be an approved telecommunications provider under California Lifeline regulations, and does not want to be included in the Lifeline program.

    At least until October 1, 2020, any new customer who chooses Boost Mobile as their provider for the CARE and/or I-Foster program will be initially provisioned to Sprint's CDMA network. After October 1, 2020, new customers will most likely be provisioned on T-Mobile's GSM network.

    Current Boost Mobile California CARE and I-Foster customers over a period not to exceed 3 years will be transitioned/transferred over to T-Mobile's GSM network. My hunch is that T-Mobile will be converting the leftover Boost Mobile customers over to their GSM network much sooner than 3 years.

    In addition, the California Boost Mobile CARE and I-Foster customers will receive a new handset that feature/capability wise will be at least the same if not better feature-wise than the handset the customer currently is using - at no additional cost that is compatible with the T-Mobile GSM network. The C.P.U.C. will approve in advance the new handset that is proposed to be distributed to program participants.

    What's to come of the California CARE and I-Foster Boost Mobile customers brand-wise since Boost has been sold to Dish? At some point, the leftover Boost Mobile customers will be placed under the Assurance Wireless brand (which Sprint did not sell) and Assurance Wireless will be managed/placed under Metro by T-Mobile. This is similar, as the Assurance Wireless Lifeline program was previously managed under the Virgin Mobile prepaid program.

    Currently, Assurance Wireless is the largest Lifeline cellular carrier in California.

    For more information about the program:

    https://www.hellosavings.org/

    https://hellosavings.org/boostpilot/

    HELLS_BELLS

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    Replies
    1. Why is the CPUC wasting effort on minutia when they should be focusing in ensuring that T-Mobile meets its 300Mbps/2024 requirement?

      Delete
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