FILE PHOTO: u.s. Congressman David Cicilline talks with reporters during a news conference at a hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, November 21, 2017. (REUTERS photo/Soe Zeya Tun
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative David Cicilline called on the Federal Communications Commission, Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday, giving the public the opportunity to comment on a draft order that would grant agency approval to a $26 billion merger with T-Mobile US (TMUS.R) Inc., and Sprint Corp (S. N).
Cicilline, chair of the House Anti-trust Subcommittee, said in a statement in The order on Wednesday, behind closed doors, is rushing the merger, “which calls for a thorough and transparent review.”
He called on the FCC to make public its response to the proposed merger, which won antitrust approval from the federal Ministry of Justice in July, after the companies agreed to sell Sprint prepaid companies, including Boost Mobile, DISH Network Corp (DISH.D).
Consumer advocacy groups have raised concerns that the merger would increase the cost of the wireless service provider.
An FCC spokesman said in a statement that “the time has come for the members to vote, and this procedure has to be brought to a close” and that “there is more the public reaction cycles.
The last public comment period ended in March, prior to the agreement with the scale were made to The published draft of the ordinance.
Democratic FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said she was “not convinced that the removal of a competitor will lead to better outcomes for consumers” in a tweet on Wednesday, and said the public should be in a position to comment prior to a vote.
The deal must still be approved by two of the other four FCC commissioners, and in the face of legal challenges from 16 state attorneys-general.
Report by Bryan Pietsch; Editing by Marguerita Choy