Back in July, the Department of Justice cleared T-Mobile’s planned takeover of Sprint, paving the way for the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers to merge into a titan to rival AT&T and Verizon. Sixteen states are suing to block the merger, and now some congressional Democrats are lobbying to have the Federal Communications Commission delay an announced vote on whether to give the deal the go ahead.
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar along with Senate colleagues Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren (all currently running for president) were among those who signed a letter on Friday asking for the FCC to “issue a public notice and seek public comment on the proposed merger” before moving to a vote. The senators cited widespread concerns that the deal would actually hurt competition by further consolidating the wireless industry under the control of a handful of massive corporations—concerns which were apparently shared by some at the DOJ earlier this year, when the agency was mulling intervening.
Days after the FCC intended to support the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, the Department of Justice has reportedly decided to block the deal.
According to CNBC and Reuters, the DOJ’s antitrust division has recommended that the agency file a lawsuit to block the deal between the two wireless carriers. The agency will reportedly make its final decision in the next month.
The FCC’s seal of approval came after the carriers agreed to sell off Sprint subsidiary Boost Mobile to spur competition at the low-cost end of the market. T-Mobile and Sprint also agreed to numerous nationwide milestone goals around the 5G infrastructure rollout over the next half-dozen years.
President Barack Obama traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina on to participate in a town hall on race and sports and to highlight the administration’s work to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth through its My Brother’s Keeper initiative and other programs.
Sprint plans to give cell phones, tablets, laptops or mobile hot spots to students who do not have internet at home. Students would be able to choose the type of device that might meet their needs and it would be coupled with four years of free data plans.
The company hopes to reach its goal of a million students in five years.
The deal, involves the sale of 1,740 RadioShack stores to the Standard General hedge fund, will see the outlets co-brand with Sprint stores. The telecoms firm is expected to occupy around 30 percent of the space in each location, where it’ll sell mobile devices and wireless plans. Although the retailer’s troubles have led to the closure of more than half of its stores, moving in with Sprint means around 7,500 RadioShack jobs will be saved out of a total of 27,000.
Google has inked deals with Sprint and T-Mobile to become a wireless carrier according to unnamed sources. Google is preparing to sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network, according to three people with knowledge of the plans. The new service is expected run on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks. The project goes under the codename “Nova”. The service is said to launch next fall.
T-Mobile has agreed to spend at least $90 million in refunds to customers wrongfully billed for spam messages aka cramming. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has filed a lawsuit against the Un-carrier in July alleging it of profited millions of dollars from the practice. T-Mobile has agreed to settle the case by paying complete refunds to all clients who received unlawful charges for what carriers contact premium SMS, largely texts containing horoscopes, flirting tips and celebrity gossip, at times amounting to $9.99 a month. T-Mobile has to notify all clients eligible for refunds, including former shoppers who have switched to other carriers, and to inform them about the refund process in a “clear and conspicuous way.” The Un-carrier will also need to have to demand the express consent of buyers before sending them premium SMS and educate them how to block third-party solutions if they want not to receive any of them in the future.
The FTC has also reached a related settlement with AT&T to pay a total of $105 million in refunds and fines for the same practice. Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that a companion consumer bureau called the Consumer Economic Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against Sprint also for cramming.
Sprint plans to launch its “Cut Your Bill in Half” event on Friday, and provide to customers unlimited text and talk anywhere in the country while the user is on the Sprint network. Moreover, the new plan will allow a subscriber to pay half the amount of the data allowance they are currently paying on a different network. Sprint also plans to pay up to $350 to help customers coming from Verizon and AT&T, who are on a contract, to terminate and switch over to its network.