T-Mobile Merger 'Synergies' Culminate In Massive 12 Hour Nationwide Outage

from the do-not-pass-go,-do-not-collect-$200 dept

For much of the last year, T-Mobile and Sprint insisted that their $26 billion megamerger would result in untold amazing "synergies," lower prices, and better service. You know, pretty much the complete opposite of what US telecom merger history indicates and antitrust experts had predicted. And so far, the antitrust experts have had it largely right; the company has been busy laying off employees at its prepaid division (despite repeatedly claiming this wouldn't happen), and the DOJ's attempt to cobble together a fourth replacement carrier out of Dish Network appears to be bogged down in infighting.

This week, T-Mobile's wireless network experienced a massive, twelve hour outage that left users unable to call or send text messages:

"In our own tests in New York and Seattle, we found that making calls from a T-Mobile phone would fail almost immediately after placing the call. We also found that the cell service on our phones was intermittent, with bars occasionally dropping to zero or losing access to high-speed data."

Initially, since telecom giants love to avoid explaining (or giving any transparency whatsoever into outages), rumors falsely suggested that the outage was due to a massive DDoS attack. Experts like Brian Krebs later speculated that the cause of the outage was at least partially due to efforts to integrate the Sprint and T-Mobile networks:

Obviously combining the massive footprints of two major US wireless carriers is going to come with some headaches. But it's worth repeating that this wouldn't be happening if regulators had heeded experts' warnings and not rubber stamped the merger in the first place. The outage was enough to warrant a stern Twitter talking to by FCC boss Ajit Pai, who called the outage "unacceptable" and insisted the source of the outage would result in an FCC investigation:

Again though, there are a few problems here. The outage wouldn't have happened if the FCC hadn't ignored all warnings and objective data and rubber stamped the gigantic, cumbersome, and unnecessary job and competition eroding deal (before commissioners had even read their own staff's impact analysis, no less). Pai has spent the last three years pandering to the telecom industry by giving it everything it wants, including the death of privacy and net neutrality protections, merger approval, and a few feckless wrist slaps for one of the biggest privacy scandals in modern internet history.

Now comes a point when he's supposed to actually "investigate" a problem, and there's not much faith that anything will come of it. T-Mobile won't willingly admit the merger integration caused the outage, and given he has a vested interest in defending his merger approval, Pai isn't likely to admit as much either. T-Mobile could very easily lie here and provide a reasonable-sounding alternative explanation for the outage, and the FCC--beholden as they are--wouldn't challenge this in the slightest. The only way to determine T-Mobile was telling the truth would be a full investigation--the kind this FCC would never actually do because it conflicts with Pai's hands off ideology.

Regulators don't always need to actually regulate. Often it's beneficial if they don't. But they need to retain the impression that they're tough, objective, and could take action at any time so that companies know that there are penalties for malfeasance and incompetence. But when you spend three years mindlessly pandering to an industry you used to work for, the message is sent loud and clear: you will face no serious repercussions for pretty much anything of note.

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Filed Under: fcc, integration, merger, network outage, synergies
Companies: sprint, t-mobile


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 6:30am

    That wasn't an outage - that was a planned suppression of Free Speech. I have evidence, I can prove it beyond a doubt. Watch my show tomorrow.

    www.bonginoreport.com

    UTube: DanBongino

    Twitter: @DBongino

    Parler (the best): @BigMoneyForMeBongino

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      Please try framing an argument not based in rampant ignorance.
      (It's not possible to "suppress free speech" by having a problem with a corperations services any more than it is possible to "suppress free speech" by staying home sick)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 17 Jun 2020 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re:

        It's not rampant ignorance, it's rampant dishonesty - because that is all he got.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re:

        OK, look, you're an uninformed idiot and I am a testifying expert that was on Capital Hill this week, because my opinion COUNTS more than YOURS!

        JUST look at Hannity and you will see that I had to SHOUT over HIRALDO RIVERIA because this OUTAGE was PLANNED to DEPLATFORM me and I HAD TO use a FUCKING CELL PHONE to SCREAM MY OUTRAGE!

        I wasn't sick, I'm not sick, and I'm not taking any time off. I 'm HERE FOR THE FIGHT!

        YOU CAN'T SUPPRESS BONGINO! THER EIS ONLY ON!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 7:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I wasn't sick, I'm not sick, and I'm not taking any time off. I 'm HERE FOR THE FIGHT!

          I get the impression someone's reading comprehension is low (or they read too fast)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Look, there are three kinds of people in the world. Nice normal people like me, strong and brave policeman and soldiers, and fucking BLM Criminals like YOU that say RIDICULOUS SHIT practically EVERY DAY and WE ARE TIRED OF IT!

            We are going to ROAST your BLM asss in the next election. We are going to serve FRIED BLM IN A BLANKET at our Pancake Breakfasts at the FIRE HOUSE!

            THE WHOLE COUNTRY is united to SMASH and CRUSH and PUT AN END to BLM and ASSHOLES like YOU and Techdirt and your STUPID GLOBALIST ASSHOLE FRIENDS and your DISGUSTING FUNDERS and SOROS and RUSSIA and CHINA and ALL OF YOU COMMUNIST ANTI-FA COMMIE RAT BASTARD TRAITOROUS COWARDS and ANARCHISTS and ARSONISTS and CRIMINALS and very poor writers who use the third person too much altogether.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              NoahVail (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It might be alright if copyright locked that away.

              I'm thinking his post might be due to that awkweird period between police refusing to help the mentally ill and mental health services stepping in.

              On the positive side, Navy text-yelling seems to be making a comeback.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 9:02am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Ok, look, I know you mean well, everyone means well. Well, not everyone means well. Like this fucking attorney I know, he never meant me well at all. My wife met him, after they tried to lock me up, and she wanted a divorce. Really not a nice fellow. I told him my wife was a slut and would fuck anybody and everybody, and what happened? He fucking married her before she was even done divorcing me! Bifrucated, that what they called it, and it really sucked. Well, she really sucked HIM and NOT ME and I had to PAY FOR SEX and she got FREE LEGAL SERVICES and IT was NEVER FAIR OR RIGHT and sometimes I miss her when you write stuff like that. Not much, though, really, now I have a young beautiful wife that takes perfect care of me every day, helps me with my medicine too. Now she says I need a nap, I think she wants to SUCK MY DICK but she NEVER tells me DIRECTLY they NEVER DO she MAKES ME FORCE HER but I know she wants it just like all the rest of them. Except mom, of course, she never wanted it. But she made a mean bowl of cereal and milk!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Bring it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 9:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "there are three kinds of people in the world"

              I think your blinders have blocked your vision, or perhaps you suffer from tunnel vision, idk. Anyway ... there are many more kinds of people out there, you are just not aware or do not care.

              Is it possible for you to calmly explain each issue you have and why you think everyone is out to get you.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 12:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "there are three kinds of people in the world"

                You misunderstand. He just messed up the punch line. The joke goes,

                There are three kinds of people in the world.
                Those that understand binary and those that don't.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  WDS, 17 Jun 2020 @ 1:53pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  No the line is:

                  There are 10 kinds of people in the world.
                  Those that understand binary and those that don't.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 12:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So that's a 'no' on the original request for coherent arguments?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      How bored do you need to be to roleplay gimmickpost as a D list right wing talking head from the failed NRA TV channel?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:48am

        Re: Re:

        Have you ever seen that show with the guy who puts together a whole package, I mean, the outer layer of leather and then pork ribs and then oranges all wrapped up in a package to simulate lungs and flesh and bone and tissue and then SHOOTS it repeatedly from different angles and at different distances and then SHOWS YOU how the Oranges are OBLITERATED and that means if you shot someone their LUNGS would be GONE and you would WIN and everyone would LOVE YOU and then you would be PRESIDENT? Have you seen it? Totally cool.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 6:55am

    They were able to communicate their layoffs tho

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 7:18am

    It's almost like Richard Bennett was lying when he said the merger was a good thing. Who'd've thought?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 7:38am

    The troll quality is too damn low!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 7:54am

    Brian Krebs has long been an excellent source for information on a wide range of telecom and Internet-related security issues. You can count on his finger being pointed in the right direction. Give him some time to dig into this, and we will likely see an article on the nuts and bolts of what happened. Karl has explained why it happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:32am

      Re:

      Look, tell the truth, "Upstream", you've never been in a serious Fight in your life! You are a coward and hide behind a fake name on a fake web site and spout your shit without any skin in any game at all. I've been in fights! I once knocked an asshole like you RIGHT into a MUD PUDDLE when I was like 12! And I learnt what it was to FIGHT! Your pulse RACES, your vision NARROWS, you FOCUS on KILLING and EATING and SMASHING and FUCKING and THEN you want MORE AND MORE AND MORE and then, well, then you (eventually) have to calm down and come back to reality and be like other people. That's pretty much my story and the story of anyone who's EVER been in the Military or anyone who's EVER been a COP So FUCK YOU My RAGING VOLCANO WILL PUT AN END TO YOU if you dare cross me. Other than that, thank you for your consideration and maybe next time you can be a little more polite, please.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:40am

        You've never been punched in the face once in your life and it shows

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 8:44am

          Re:

          Not true. I once had this lady who could suck my dick like there was no tomorrow but then I was tired of her and she had a new boyfriend who was old and I was underage and went to a dancing bar and got drunk off my ass that that bad lady told that old man that she hated me and he PUNCHED me right in my NOSE, blood and everything, but then Donald Trump (who was the bouncer) knocked that man on his ass and I've been his BEST IMAGINARY friend every since.

          Whew. I feel better. Haven't told that story in a long time.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 9:00am

            Re: Re:

            You've actually told that before?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 9:06am

              Re: Re: Re:

              Sadly, I've been asked to recall that story time and time again. Usually from assholes like you that want to fight. I don't like fighting. I like winning. And WINNING and WINNING and WINNING. Did I mention I AM RICH and I first CAME HERE when TRUMP WON THE ELECTION and I bet ALL MY MONEY on AMERICA and now I am RICHRICHRICH!

              Did I mention that?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 9:24am

    My Sprint bill went down

    Right after the merger, we started getting a local Sprint store that we had never gone to, cold calling us to try to sell us some a new phone or plan. We told him not to call us again yet he kept doing it over and over until we had to block the number. We ended up leaving Sprint and now we have 2 lines for far less per month than we ever had with Sprint. Now it would take 2 or 3 months' worth of bills to equal just a single month of billing from Sprint. Their merger saved us money, just not the way they were hoping it would.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 9:24am

    The one thing this post does show is Karl's hatred of all thing T-Mobile.

    Did they cut you off for non-payment?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mononymous Tim (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      Nah, he has a much better explanation for it. Did you happen to read the article?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re:

        Of course I read it, that's why I commented. If you can't see that the tone of this and every other article Karl writes about T-Mobile reflects a genuine hatred of the company, then you are trying not to see it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 2:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's hard not to hate things that suck.

          Sorry you imagine that it's the other way around, like your own logic apparently is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 11:56am

    I blame the breakup of Ma Bell

    We would never have had this wireless outage if regulators hadn't broken up the Bell Telephone Company.

    Why? Simple! No wireless network, no wireless network outages!

    -- from my wall-mounted Princess telephone

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 2:23pm

      Re: I blame the breakup of Ma Bell

      You... wall-mounted a Princess? Pretty sure that's an unauthorized mode of use per Bell System / AT&T / Western Electric.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 17 Jun 2020 @ 12:34pm

    Let's not jump to conclusions

    Maybe the outage was related to the layoffs/merger, maybe not.

    We don't know yet. At least some people seem to think it was some kind of DoS attack.

    If it was due to the layoffs or merger, by all means castigate T-Mobile for their incompetence. Let's wait and see.

    Let me remind everyone - all things being equal, layoffs after a merger are a good thing, if service quality doesn't deteriorate.

    Successfully delivering the same service with less people is an indication that efficiency has improved - this is progress.

    Of course it sucks if you're one of the people laid off, but the losses to those people are, in the long run, smaller than the gains to society. (Those who get laid off eventually get other jobs.)

    (To be clear - I'm not defending the lack of competition in the US mobile market - that sucks.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 2:24pm

      Re: Let's not jump to conclusions

      No, it's not progress, as the merger was a bad thing all around.

      Most mergers and takeovers and acquisitions are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2020 @ 2:00pm

    but... imagine how long it would've been without the merger?

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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