Jun 25, 2021 - Technology

Lawmakers urge DOJ review of T-Mobile-Dish spat

Illustration of a telecommunications tower with red "ban" signs over the satellite dishes
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A bipartisan pair of Colorado lawmakers want the Justice Department to investigate T-Mobile's plans to shut down a network used by Dish customers — and take quick action if necessary.

Why it matters: T-Mobile agreed to help Dish stand up its own 5G network as a condition of obtaining approval for the Sprint merger, but Dish argues that T-Mobile is putting its customers at risk with its shutdown plans.

Driving the news: Republican Rep. Ken Buck and Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse, both on the House antitrust subcommittee, said it is "critical that parties live up to the commitments provided to regulators" in a letter to acting antitrust chief Richard Powers.

  • They say that if the DOJ concludes T-Mobile's plans are contrary to the commitments the company made as part of the merger or would raise competitive concerns likely to harm consumers, "we urge you to take prompt remedial action."

Catch up quick: Colorado-based Dish has been agitating for regulators to take action since T-Mobile announced it would shut down Sprint's CDMA network on Jan. 1, 2022.

  • Millions of Dish's Boost prepaid customers use that network, and the company has said it expected to have at least three years to transition customers.
  • T-Mobile has argued it provided Dish with more than the 6-month notice required by contract, and that it is Dish's responsibility to transition customers to phones that are compatible with T-Mobile's network.

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