California regulators accuse T-Mobile of lying to get its Sprint merger approved

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What you need to know

  • The California Public Utilities Commission has alleged that T-Mobile lied to get the Sprint merger approved.
  • It has ordered T-Mobile to show cause why it shouldn't be sanctioned for providing misleading statements to the commission.
  • The carrier made statements under oath indicating that it would continue to provide CDMA services to Boost customers until they were migrated to Dish's LTE or 5G network.

T-Mobile provided false and misleading statements about shutting down Sprint's CDMA network to the California Public Utilities Commission, as per new a ruling. The ruling directs T-Mobile to "show cause why it shouldn't be sanctioned" for violating the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure by providing "false, misleading or omitted statements."

In order to gain approval for its merger with Sprint, T-Mobile agreed to sell Boost Mobile to a rival. Dish acquired Boost Mobile in July last year for $1.4 billion to challenge the best wireless carriers in the US. While T-Mobile had initially promised to provide CDMA services to Boost customers until Dish migrated them to its 5G network, the carrier now plans to retire Sprint's CDMA network on January 1, 2022. It will be reusing those resources for its LTE and 5G networks.

T-Mobile had also claimed that Dish would have up to three years to complete Boost customer migration and that all former Sprint customers would "have a seamless upgrade experience during the migration period." CPUC has further alleged that the carrier provided "misleading information regarding the fact that PCS spectrum was used to provide service to Boost customers on the CDMA network and the same spectrum would be required for the build-out of the 5G network."

The ruling comes four months after Dish Network filed a petition asking the CPUC to reopen its merger investigation to force T-Mobile to live up to its pre-merger commitments.

Responding to the allegations by Dish, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sivert wrote in a blog post:

Listen, this is a manufactured crisis, orchestrated by DISH, and it is about money, not customers. If DISH was really concerned for customers, they would simply take real action and get their customers new phones on time, before the network upgrade happens, just as T-Mobile is doing for affected Sprint customers.

T-Mobile will have a chance to formally respond to the allegations at a virtual hearing on September 20.

Babu Mohan
News Writer