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T-Mobile lied about plans for 3G shutdown to win approval

News has it that T-Mobile lied to government authorities regarding its plans for a 3G shutdown, in a bid to get approval on its 2020 merger with Sprint. The same came to light following a ruling by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), under which, T-Mobile has been directed to explain to the Commission why it shouldn’t stand to be sanctioned by it for violating the CPUC’s guidelines by furnishing “false, misleading, or omitted statements.”

Goodbye On January 1st, 2022

The company managed to win approval for its takeover of Sprint back in 2020, in part through an agreement to sell the latter’s Boost Mobile business, as well as some other assets, to Dish, which is setting up its 5G network, while also reselling capacity from other networks. The idea back then had been made out to be to poise Dish to fill the empty space in the market that Sprint would leave behind. Additionally, the vast user base at Boost would provide a headstart to Dish, which is on its way to bringing out its own wireless network.

The issue at hand came to light back in April this year, when Dish Network petitioned to the Commission, asking it to reconsider its ruling on the Sprint acquisition, while claiming that  the statements made by T-Mobile under the agreement, where it had said that it would close Sprint’s 3G CDMA network over a period of three years, were false. It added that instead of abiding by its words, T-Mobile announced that Sprint’s 3G network would be decommissioned on January 1st, 2022.

Didn’t Mention Details In Testimony

T-Mobile 3G shutdown approval

Image Credits: The Wall Street Journal

Following the appeal, the CPUC cited the testimony given by Neville Ray, the CTO at T-Mobile, who apparently “forgot” to mention that the PCS spectrum occupied by the 3G CDMA will also be required to build up on its 5G plans. Ray had apparently also said that their 5G plans wouldn’t be affected by maintaining the legacy network.

The 2022 deadline for the CDMA shutdown was called out by Dish for being “premature,” to which T-Mobile replied that the short time window would enable it to use the vacated PCS spectrum to support its 5G ventures. This ultimately led the CPUCZ to rule that T-Mobile is the defaulter in this case. Now, if the company fails to provide an adequate excuse for blatantly violating the guidelines, it may be liable to being fined up to $100,000 in fines (per offence, that is).




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