Welcome to Reuters Legal News beta. Please enjoy and provide us with your feedback as we continue to improve the Reuters Legal News experience.

Skip to main content
Skip to floating mini video

U.S. Justice Department says concerned about T-Mobile CDMA shutdown on DISH

3 minute read

The headquarters of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., U.S. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page.

WASHINGTON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said in a letter released on Monday that it has "grave concerns" about T-Mobile's plan to shut down a network that Dish Network (DISH.O) uses to offer pre-paid service to customers, many of whom are poor.

T-Mobile, which closed its $26 billion deal for Sprint last year, had sold Sprint's Boost prepaid business to DISH as part of a deal to win U.S. government approval for its merger. The customers were on Sprint's CDMA network, which T-Mobile has now said that it planned to shut down on Jan. 1.

The letter, which was signed by the acting assistant attorney general for antitrust, Richard Powers, said that DISH had approached the Justice Department for help in the dispute.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

"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," said the letter, which is dated July 9 and addressed to executives at both DISH and T-Mobile. "The Division believes that the Final Judgment may be violated by one or both Parties if the network shutdown strands a substantial proportion of Boost customers."

Powers notes T-Mobile's assertion that it gave adequate notice of 15 months when only six is required, saying essentially that if users are stranded that it might indicate that the notice was insufficient.

DISH, which included the letter in its 10-Q, also came in for a bit of drubbing in the letter, with the Justice Department warning that "any failure by DISH to pursue all available avenues to prevent a widespread loss of services to the customers it acquired pursuant to that Final Judgment could raise concerns regarding its own compliance."

In a blog, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert blamed DISH for not taking care of its customers.

"This is a manufactured crisis, orchestrated by DISH, and it is about money, not customers," he wrote. "If DISH was really concerned for customers, they would simply take real action and get their customers new phones on time, before the network upgrade happens."

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Diane Bartz Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters