Dish complains to justice dept over T-Mobile’s planned shutdown of CDMA service
Tuesday 10 August 2021 | 08:54 CET | News
The US Department of Justice has warned that T-Mobile US may be violating the conditions set for its takeover of Sprint if it goes ahead with a shutdown of its CDMA network in January 2022 as planned. This could impede customers of Boost Mobile, now owned by Dish Network, from accessing services. Dish turned to the DoJ for assistance, saying T-Mobile did not give it enough notice of the network shutdown.
Dish said in a SEC filing it was informed in October 2020 of the plan to end CDMA services on the former Sprint network from January 2022. According to the company, T-Mobile previously said this would not happen until July 2023.
Dish published in its filing the letter from the DoJ to both companies, sent in July after a preliminary investigation of the situation. The DoJ was first notified in November 2020 by Dish. The department’s antitrust division said it had “grave concerns” that the network shutdown could violate the terms of the merger clearance, if a substantial portion of Boost customers was left without service. T-Mobile committed to continuing to serve the customers on its network after the business was sold to Dish, while the latter worked on building its own mobile network.
T-Mobile claims the network services agreement only requires six months notice to Dish. However, the DoJ noted a further requirement for “reasonable” notice, and if Dish is not able to transition its customers off CDMA, this may not have been sufficient notice.
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert defended the company’s position in a blog post on its website. He said the legacy technologies needed to be phased out in order to make room for 4G and 5G capacity. “Relegating customers to outdated technology is like treating them as second-class citizens — and that is not who T-Mobile is,” he said. “No one should be left on outdated technology in the 5G era.”
T-Mobile accused Dish of “dragging their feet” and not doing enough to upgrade customers to superior 4G/5G services. The company said Dish had “manufactured a crisis” and put its own short-term financial interests first.
T-Mobile has offered to share its own plans for migrating Metro PCS customers from CDMA with Dish. The company also suggested that if Dish did not upgrade the customers, they could switch to T-Mobile services under its latest prepaid offer.