Altice files opposition to T-Mobile and Sprint merger


(Reuters) – U.S. cable TV provider Altice USA Inc (ATUS.N) called for regulators to intervene in the proposed merger between T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp (S.N), in a filing published on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A smartphones with Sprint logo are seen in front of a screen projection of T-mobile logo, in this picture illustration taken April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The $26 billion deal between the two U.S. wireless carriers, which would shrink the wireless market to three big players from four, faces a review from the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.

In the filing with the FCC, Altice said it was opposed to the merger and called for the regulator to put conditions on the deal, including requiring the combined T-Mobile to honor its partnerships with Altice and other companies that rely on its network, and even divest wireless spectrum that the companies can use.

Altice plans to resell Sprint’s wireless service under its own brand next year, but is limited to selling its phone plans in the cable provider’s current markets.

While that agreement still stands, Altice said it was concerned about T-Mobile’s willingness to allow Altice to expand its wireless service nationwide and over the long term, since the carrier has made “no tangible commitments” to do so.

T-Mobile and Sprint have previously cited cable companies such as Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O), which are entering the wireless industry, as growing competitors.

The Communications Workers of America, a union that represents some telecommunications workers, said in a separate FCC filing on Monday that the merger will result in more than 28,000 job losses.

In response to Altice’s FCC filing, T-Mobile and Sprint said in a joint statement on Tuesday that they were confident the merger will create more competition and be positive for consumers.

“These filings are part of the normal FCC open comment process and we welcome the opportunity for this important dialogue. We look forward to submitting our responses by the September 17th filing date,” the companies said.

T-Mobile and Sprint did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the CWA’s filing.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler mailto:[email protected]; +1 646-223-4416

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