FCC reaction to the T-Mobile-Sprint ruling broke down along party lines, with the Republican majority in favor and the Democrats opposed. The FCC and the Department of Justice previously allowed the combination, saying it’s in the public interest.
Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said: “This transaction represents a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States, put critical mid-band spectrum to more productive use, and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans.
I’m gratified that the federal district court agreed with the FCC and the DOJ that this merger is lawful and should be allowed to proceed.”
His colleague, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, noted the court “rightfully” came to the same decision he did during his review and he’s pleased “the deeply flawed case made by the state Attorneys General was rejected.”
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called the decision “disappointing” and she’s concerned that antitrust enforcement isn’t working for consumers. Rosenworcel said it’s “absolutely essential the FCC enforce the promises made by these companies in their effort to secure approval from this agency. Any other outcome would be unacceptable.”
And the newest Commissioner, Geoffrey Starks, predicted the merger “will dramatically alter America’s wireless landscape.” He thought the AG’s case to block the deal was strong, however, “the court saw it differently. Given how central DISH’s future role as a wireless competitor was to the court’s decision, I remain disappointed that those facts were not fully vetted in the merger.” He looks forward to seeing how the promises T-Mobile, Sprint and DISH made to get the deal through regulatory approval will be fulfilled.