While at least 17 states from New York to California oppose the proposed $26 billion T-Mobile/Sprint merger, the Navajo Nation has come out in support of the nation’s two largest wireless carriers combining.
Several state Attorney Generals allege that the merger will result in reduced access to affordable wireless service and higher prices across the board. But the Navajo Nation asserts it will lead to a significant investment in reservation broadband, providing essential jobs for the community.
In a letter sent to the government agencies in late August, just recently made public, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer state:
“As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted in 2009, the Navajo Nation rolled out a fiber network covering the Four Corners region, which includes Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. It is expected that the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger will provide mobile 5G coverage on the low-band spectrum to 85% of the Navajo Nation’s territory within three years and 90% in six years.”
The letter from the Nez-Lizer Administration addressed to the DOJ and FCC continues: “We also expect that this expanded coverage will provide the infrastructure for twenty-first century jobs to come to the Navajo Nation and encourage local and national businesses to invest in the Navajo Nation.”
Nez-Lizer: We also expect that this expanded coverage will provide the infrastructure for twenty-first century jobs to come to the Navajo Nation and encourage local and national businesses to invest in the Navajo Nation. Click To Tweet
The potential merger comes just ahead of the Navajo Generating Station’s scheduled closure by end of 2019, taking with it the Kayenta Coal Mine.
“The job losses associated with these closures will be devastating to our local economy,” Nez-Lizer state. “The prospect of additional jobs associated with investment from a post-merger T-Mobile is essential to our economic recovery. The Navajo Nation looks forward to assisting [the] new T-Mobile to create a bright future for Navajos. We hope that you will support this merger.”
The Navajo Nation’s letter to the DOJ and FCC comes as the mobile companies are readying to face trial against dozens of state attorneys general who allege the merger will reduce competition and thus kill affordable wireless service. Meanwhile, union workers and other organizations are advocating for the companies to guarantee retention of employees before the merger goes into effect.