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DOJ Weighs In On Dish Dispute With T-Mobile

 |  August 9, 2021

Antitrust officials at the US Justice Department said they have “grave concerns” about plans by T-Mobile US to shut down the wireless network used by millions of Boost Mobile customers, reported Bloomberg.

The Department’s worries were disclosed Monday, August 9, in a regulatory filing by Dish Network, which bought Boost as part of an antitrust settlement approved by the Justice Department that cleared the way for T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint last year. T-Mobile operates the 3G network known as CDMA that’s used by Boost.

“The Division is left with grave concerns about the potential for a nationwide CDMA shutdown to leave a substantial proportion of Boost’s customers without service,” the acting head of the department’s antitrust division, Richard Powers, wrote to Dish and T-Mobile in a July 9 letter.

The dispute over the network, which T-Mobile plans to decommission on January 1, is threatening the elaborate antitrust deal brokered by the Trump administration’s Justice Department, which allowed T-Mobile to buy Sprint even though the deal consolidated the mobile phone market to three national players. The Justice Department had long claimed that four players were needed to ensure the market is competitive. 

Under the government’s plan, Dish bought Boost, Sprint’s prepaid service, to help create a fourth wireless carrier while creating an enlarged T-Mobile that could take on AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said on the company’s earnings call Monday that the majority of Boost’s 9 million customers are on the T-Mobile CDMA network and they’re now at risk of losing service.

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