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T-Mobile tries to ease up California’s requirements for allowing the Sprint merger to go through

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T-Mobile tries to ease up California’s requirements for allowing the Sprint merger to go through

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

T-Mobile has filed a petition asking California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to par back some of the conditions that CPUC insisted on when it agreed to approve the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint earlier this year. It’s requesting changes to its 5G rollout timing, requirements of new jobs, and testing requirements for its 5G network, via Engadget.

T-Mobile’s filing makes three requests. First, that the date for T-Mobile’s 5G rollout in California be moved two years back to 2026. T-Mobile argues that the 2024 date from CPUC was a placeholder used in 2018 — when the negotiations first started — for the promise that T-Mobile would roll out its network in six years from the closing of the deal. Since the deal closed in 2020, T-Mobile says, the goal date should be moved to 2026.

Secondly, T-Mobile is asking CPUC to outright remove the requirement that T-Mobile add 1,000 new employees to the combined Sprint / T-Mobile entity within three years of the merger, arguing that the requirement is “outside the Commission’s jurisdiction” and “particularly burdensome and unjustified in light of the current COVID-19 crisis.”

CEO Mike Sievert took to Twitter to try to rebut claims that T-Mobile was looking to walk back promises of new jobs in California, but would only go as far as to reiterate a promise that the combined T-Mobile and Sprint would have the same number of employees in the state in three years as the separate companies did when the merger closed.

This comes after the combined T-Mobile and Sprint announced that the company would be laying off hundreds of Sprint employees earlier in June, despite repeated promises from both companies that the merger would be “all about creating new, high-quality, high-paying jobs, and the New T-Mobile will be jobs-positive from Day One and every day thereafter.”

The third complaint relates to testing for T-Mobile’s network to ensure it’s meeting those commitments. T-Mobile says that it agrees to testing from the FCC and the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), but CPUC’s conditions would have added a third testing program run by CalSpeed, which T-Mobile claims would be “unnecessarily duplicative.”

The responses to T-Mobile’s attempt to ease its merger conditions has been a cold one, with Communications Workers of America union president Chris Shelton calling out the request as proof that “the new T-Mobile is a lot like the old T-Mobile – all talk, no action.”’

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