Opinion

Sprint’s crony socialist hypocrisy

Seton Motley President, Less Government

Crony Socialism is, in part, the government cutting special deals for certain companies – at the expense of other companies, and the free market.

It is particularly pathetic when companies publicly troll for this treatment.  It’s almost as if they’ve given up on actually, you know, trying.

Sprint, T-Mobile US, Dish Network and other smaller carriers are already lobbying [Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler]. 

In a letter to Wheeler on Thursday, the companies’ top executives…urged Wheeler to adopt rules for the (spectrum) auctions that would ensure “that the two dominant wireless incumbents not be allowed to lock competitive carriers out of acquiring…spectrum.

But — it’s an auction. Everyone bids, and the best bids win. Everyone has equal access. Problem preemptively solved. Except that’s not what these guys mean. More from their begging letter:

“To be clear, none of us has ever suggested excluding the largest two carriers from theauction.

Oh — good.

“Reasonable spectrum-aggregation limits, however…

Oh — wait. So they do want the government to exclude some companies from freely bidding in the auction. Maybe they should have written “Let us be clear” instead.

“More competition, in turn, means more jobs, more investment , faster innovation, and more economic growth in America. Competition will also enable the Commission to maintain its ‘light-touch’ regulatory approach to the wireless industry.” 

Absolutely. But no one’s going to go out of business as a result of this auction. There’ll be just as many competitors after as before.

However, the whole debate over spectrum aggregation limits will largely be a moot point if the FCC can’t persuade enough broadcasters to give up their spectrum for auction in the first place.

A great way to ensure that not enough broadcasters participate? Have the government limit the number of bidders — and thus the coin to be garnered by the broadcasters. Exactly what these crony socialist companies are asking for.

Obviously not satisfied by all this is Masayoshi Son, the President of SoftBank — Sprint’s parent company.  While seeking to have the government fetter in his favor the auction, Son is simultaneously looking for unfettered government approval of Sprint’s purchase of T-Mobile.

But wait — what about all that high-minded talk of the importance of competition in his letter?  Son wants the government to approve his merger — meaning there will be one less competitor.

“I’d like to provide an alternative,” Son said in the speech.

You already do, Mr. Son — Sprint. What you actually want to do is provide one less alternative, by taking T-Mobile off the board.

At an earnings briefing last month, for example, Son deflected questions about a possible Sprint/T-Mobile deal. “What I can say is that the United States’ mobile industry is not competitive.

Again, the merger will mean one less competitor.

I am not saying I’m opposed to the Sprint-T-Mobile merger — I am saying I’m opposed to Son’s crony socialism-riddled hypocrisy.

In 2011, AT&T wanted to purchase the very same T-Mobile Son’s Sprint now seeks to acquire.

Sprint Reminds Us It Didn’t Want AT&T-T-Mobile Merger; “In a statement released today, Sprint thanked departing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for his service and for blocking AT&T’s 2011 bid for T-Mobile.”

Oh – and there was a spectrum auction just last year:

Sorry, Not Interested: Sprint Bows Out of the PCS Spectrum Auction

Get that? Sprint bailed on the last one — but now wants the government to rig this one for them.

According to Son and Sprint, when the government can mess with your competitors, it’s all good — and they ask for it. When the government can impede you, they demand we all let the free market reign. Regulate thee, not me.

Crony Socialism epitomized.