Sprint / T-Mobile merger gets into heavy weather after fraud allegations
The merger between the American telecom providers T-Mobile and Sprint must be stopped. That is the opinion of Democratic commissioner Geoffrey Starks of telecom watchdog FCC. Starks makes his appeal because there is a major fraud investigation against Sprint.
Sprint received subsidies from the government for hundreds of thousands of customers. The telecom company would have to pass on that money to customers who were entitled to such a so-called Lifeline subsidy. For 885,000 customers, about 30 percent of all Lifeline customers that Sprint has, it was true that they did not use the subsidized connection at all. Telecom companies have to deregister customers who receive the subsidy but do not use their connection from the government themselves.
Sprint and T-Mobile received permission from the US Department of Justice and the FCC for the mega merger after a long period of fuss. Before that, the two companies were in conversation with each other for several years. The merged company becomes the third telecom company in the United States after AT&T and Verizon.
Incidentally, it is unclear whether the Republican FCC commissioners are also in favor of a break. They are in the majority on the board of the regulator.