T-Mobile apparently lied to government to get Sprint merger approval, ruling says

A T-Mobile logo on the window of a store.

Enlarge / A T-Mobile logo at a store in New York on April 30, 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

T-Mobile apparently lied to government regulators about its 3G shutdown plans in order to win approval of its merger with Sprint, according to a ruling in a proceeding in front of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The ruling issued Friday ordered T-Mobile “to show cause why it should not be sanctioned by the commission for violating” a CPUC rule with “false, misleading, or omitted statements.”

T-Mobile won approval for its 2020 acquisition of Sprint in part by agreeing to sell Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid business and other assets to Dish, which is building its own 5G network and reselling capacity from other networks. T-Mobile agreed to make its 4G LTE and 3G CDMA networks available to Dish customers during a three-year transition period from 2020 to 2023, the CPUC ruling said. But T-Mobile now plans to stop providing CDMA network services nationwide on January 1, 2022, and Dish has urged government regulators to force T-Mobile to live up to its commitments.

T-Mobile’s false and misleading statements under oath indicated, among other things, that T-Mobile would make its CDMA network “available to Boost customers until they were migrated to Dish Network Corporation’s LTE or 5G services” and that Dish would have up to three years to complete the migration, the ruling said.

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