Democrats investigate T-Mobile execs’ 52 nights at Trump hotel
Congressional Democrats are wanting to know why T-Mobile executives pushing for a Sprint merger approval spent 52 nights in a Trump hotel.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State issued letters demanding information about the stays and whether the president was aware.
It was previously reported by The Washington Post that T-Mobile executives, including CEO John Legere, had booked in 38 night stays last year at the Trump International Hotel in Washington; including nine the day after the Sprint merger was announced.
A further 14 days were uncovered in October and December, bringing the total to 52. When Legere stayed at Trump’s hotel for two nights, his room had a rate of $2,246 per night.
Some Democrats are concerned T-Mobile execs have been patronising Trump hotels to win support for the Sprint merger.
In their letter, the lawmakers wrote the transactions “raise questions about whether T-Mobile is attempting to curry favor with the President through the Trump Organization and exacerbate our concerns about the President’s continued financial relationship with the Trump Organization”.
T-Mobile’s merger bid for Sprint totals $26.5 billion. The operators are the third and fourth largest US wireless operators, respectively. With a combined 131 million subscribers, a merger would match second-ranked AT&T and pose competition to market leader Verizon.
Critics believe the reduction in competition will increase prices, decrease innovation, and slow the rollout of 5G.
Earlier this week, Legere promised T-Mobile would freeze prices for at least three years if the merger was granted approval.
"Critics of our merger, largely employed by Big Telco and Big Cable, have principally argued that we are going to raise rates right after the merger closes," Legere wrote in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission.
"I want to reiterate, unequivocally, that new T-Mobile rates are NOT going to go up. Rather, our merger will ensure that American consumers will pay less and get more.”
"To remove any remaining doubt or concerns ... T-Mobile today is submitting to the commission a commitment that I stand behind -- a commitment that new T-Mobile will make available the same or better rate plans for our services as those offered today."
In addition, Legere promised T-Mobile would create 5,600 jobs.
The promises are welcome if the approval is allowed to proceed. However, many want assurances that – if approval is granted – it was achieved without T-Mobile executives patronising Trump properties as part of a bid to win it.
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