Alleged Gov't Subsidy Fraud by Sprint Threatens Merger with T-Mobile
Sep 25, 2019, 6:19 PM by Rich Brome @rbrome
The FCC this week launched an investigation into allegations that Sprint collected federal subsidy payments for 885,000 subscribers that were not actively using Sprint service, violating a key rule of the Lifeline program for low-income consumers. If true, this would amount to Sprint collecting over $8 million/month of taxpayer money that it was not entitled to. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the investigation yesterday. Today, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks released a statement saying that the investigation "directly impacts our review of the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, one of the largest wireless transactions in FCC history. Given the enormity of the apparent wrongdoing committed here, we must pause our Commission review. ... There is no credible way that the merger before us can proceed until this Lifeline investigation is resolved and responsible parties are held accountable."
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T-Mobile and the FCC have agreed to settle an FCC investigation started in September 2019 alleging that Sprint defrauded the US government by collecting approximately $8 million per month in Lifeline subsidies for 885,000 ineligible accounts. Lifeline helps low-income consumers afford basic phone and internet service.