Friday, May 24, 2024
Smart Phones

Company explains how Mint’s acquisition by T-Mobile could harm vulnerable consumers



British Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Lyca Mobile has filed an objection with the FCC to oppose T-Mobile‘s proposed acquisition of Mint Mobile, reports Light Reading.

MVNOs don’t operate their networks on their own towers but rely on a licensed mobile operator’s network to sell mobile services. 

In the US, Lyca Mobile uses T-Mobile‘s network and things haven’t been going well between the two for quite some time. 

In its FCC filing, Lyca Mobile says that it occupies a small but unique place in the US wireless market and competes directly with Mint Mobile. It says that it provides wireless services to low-income communities, migrants, and refugees. 

Mint also runs on T-Mobile‘s network and Lyca Mobile claims that the carrier treats the two differently to advance its motives. Lyca Mobile says that obtaining basic functionalities that T-Mobile is obligated to provide to it, including eSIM and access to 5G standalone architecture has become a struggle, and believes that T-Mobile is purposely doing that to give Mint an advantage over it. 

The company fears that this anti-competitive behavior will only worsen if the acquisition is allowed to go through and harm not only Lyca but also the vulnerable population it serves.

It says that the behavior T-Mobile is exhibiting is exactly what opponents of the Sprint merger warned about. It gave the example of T-Mobile‘s reluctance to solve everything amicably after some contractual issues to terminate its agreement with Lyca. 

Lyca argues that after the proposed acquisition, Mint will become an in-house MVNO, further incentivizing T-Mobile to treat Lyca unfavorably with the hopes of driving it out of the US.

T-Mobile  responded with its own filing, stating that Lyca is unnecessarily bringing up an unrelated contract issue in the FCC’s public interest review of the transaction. It also takes issue with Lyca’s allegation that it’s not honoring its Sprint merger commitments and notes that it failed to identify any commitment that wasn’t met.

Most importantly, T-Mobile notes that the deadline to file objections passed nine months ago, which is enough grounds to dismiss it. 

T-Mobile‘s proposed acquisition of Ka’ena Corporation, which owns Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile, is expected to be worth $1.35 billion. It’s currently pending as the FCC is still evaluating it.



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