T-Mobile misled California utility regulators during testimony about the Sprint merger, according to the state’s utility regulators.

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Carrier will be given the opportunity to explain why it lied by omission in September.

California utility regulators rule T-Mobile misled them during testimony over Sprint merger

On Friday, the California utility regulators ruled that T-Mobile misled then during testimony regarding the Sprint merger. The questionable claims were regarding T-Mobile’s plans to dismantle Sprint’s legacy CDMA network. The ruling will allow T-Mobile to explain its statements before issuing any penalties against the company.

Update (08/17/21): Shortly after publication, T-Mobile reached out to us to comment on the Commission’s ruling. A spokesperson said that the company categorically disagrees with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in this case, issuing the following statement:

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert also provided a lengthy discussion on the subject on the company’s blog.

T-Mobile stated that it would keep the code division multiple access (CDMA) network operational while transitioning Boost Mobile users to Dish Network’s LTE or 5G services. The corporation asserted that the move will have no effect on its 5G rollout. All of this was meant to happen over a three-year period. T-Mobile later chose to decommission the network on June 20, 2022, and Dish Network filed an appeal with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) against the planned premature shutdown.

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The Commission reviewed the case and sided with Dish saying that T-Mobile misled regulators through “false, misleading, or omitted statements.” It pointed directly to CTO Neville Ray’s testimony, who failed to state that the PCS spectrum that the CDMA runs on would be needed to build out the company’s 5G network. Dish then took it to the CPUC.

“Several times in his testimony Mr. Ray listed the types of spectrum that would be needed for 5G service, but PCS spectrum – and specifically the PCS spectrum acquired through the merger with Sprint – was not on these lists. Moreover, in response to questions regarding the potential of the DISH Divestiture to affect the 5G build-out, T-Mobile never indicated that using PCS spectrum for CDMA service could impact T-Mobile’s 5G build-out. Nor did T-Mobile ever reveal that PCS spectrum was used to provide CDMA service to Boost customers.”

T-Mobile has to agree to divest Boost Mobile by selling it to Dish in order for regulators to accept the Sprint merger. Dish Network was planned to run on the CDMA network for three years while it built on its infrastructure. Regulators viewed this as a reasonable way to fill the hole left by Sprint’s departure as one of the four main carriers.

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T-Mobile appears to want to either back out of the deal or lie by omission when first questioned by regulators. The corporation now has the opportunity to explain why it told the Commission one thing and then did something another. On September 20, there will be a virtual hearing. T-Mobile could face penalties and fines of up to $100,000 for each infraction.

 

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