Written by Frank Lopez
Fresno residents will soon have a chance to weigh in on the latest proposed merger of two telecom giants.
T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to a merger deal after receiving approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is inviting the public to voice any feedback or concerns.
Public participation hearings are scheduled throughout the state, with one scheduled at the Fresno City Hall council chambers on Jan. 15, 2019 at 6 p.m.
A CPUC administrative law judge will preside over the hearing to listen to the public’s concerns, comments and opinions on the proposed merger. No official action will take place at the hearings, though all public comments will be transcribed and included in the public record.
The merger needs to be approved by both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, which have both provided their consent on the deal.
Helping spur this approval was SoftBank, which owns most of Sprint, and Deutsche Telekom, the majority shareholder of T-Mobile, agreeing to stop using Huawei equipment, which has gained scrutiny from several governments citing concerns that its gear could aid in Chinese spying.
In July, Sprint and T-Mobile filed an application seeking CPUC approval for transfer of control of Sprint’s wireline subsidiary, Sprint Communications Company L.P., to T-Mobile. In September, the Administrative Law Judge consolidated the application.
According to notice of the hearings sent out by Sprint, the transaction does not involve changes to California customer’s rates, terms or conditions of service or contracts for services.
The $26 billion deal between T-Mobile and Sprint is expected to close in the first half of 2019.