FCC’s T-Mobile-Sprint Sign-off Facing Union Challenge (1)

Dec. 6, 2019, 7:18 PM

The Communications Workers of America is suing to block the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of T-Mobile US Inc.'s takeover of Sprint Corp. in a Washington federal appeals court.

The FCC exceeded its statutory authority in approving the deal, the union alleged in its Dec. 5 lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The lawsuit is a new legal hurdle for the merger, which is already being challenged by a group of states alleging antitrust violations.

The FCC’s approval order violates the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the Communications Act of 1934, the CWA alleged.

An FCC spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

CWA and other deal opponents told the FCC in October that it would violate federal law if it didn’t seek additional public comment on the Justice Department’s plan to approve the merger while setting up Dish Network Corp. as a new wireless competitor.

The groups also argued that the FCC should have paused the merger review until it investigated claims that Sprint defrauded the federal Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone and internet services for low-income Americans.

The FCC approved the deal Oct. 16 without reopening comment on the merger.

The case is Communications Workers of Amer v. USA, D.C. Cir., No. 19-1254

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Reid in Washington at jreid@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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