T-Mobile has hired international law firm Hogan Lovells to lobby on Capitol Hill in support of the wireless giant’s proposed $26.5 billion merger with competitor carrier Sprint Corp.
T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers respectively, announced the planned merger in April. If approved, the combined entity, which is currently under review by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, would boast more than 126 million customers and cut the U.S. wireless market to only three carriers.
The networks have pitched the deal as a joining of underdogs in a market dominated by AT&T and Verizon, which would result in much-needed U.S. advancements in 5G technologies.
The deal has been criticized for its potential to reduce competition and lead to higher prices. The Department of Justice in 2011 blocked AT&T’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile on the basis that it would have resulted in “significant harms to competition.”
Reuters today reported that emails the news agency had received shows T-Mobile running a “behind-the-scenes PR push” for the deal, petitioning vendor companies to issue public statements and even pen op-eds in newspapers supporting the merger.
Managing the account is former Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman, who joined Hogan Lovells in 2011. He’s joined by Aaron Cutler, who was a senior policy advisor to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.