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Sprint + T-Mobile = Security Risk?

Ray Le Maistre
7/4/2018

A letter urging a US security review of the proposed Sprint/T-Mobile US merger is being circulated in Congress because Sprint's owner, Japan's SoftBank, has "ties" to Chinese vendor Huawei, according to a Bloomberg report. (See T-Mobile to Buy Sprint for $26.5B to Create US 5G Powerhouse.)

Ties? You mean, SoftBank Corp. , a major telecoms and technology company, has done business and is engaged in development work with the world's single largest supplier of communications networking technology? How shocking. (See Huawei Teams With SD-WAN Partners to Build an Intent-Driven Network, SoftBank & Huawei Demonstrate 5G Use Cases and Huawei Helps Carriers to Scale Up, Scale Out Before 5G .)

I mean, there are credible reasons to consider whether allowing Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. to get married is a good idea, for sure. (See Is the Sprint & T-Mobile Merger Too Risky?, DOJ Examing How T-Mobile & Sprint Merger Would Affect Pre-Paid Pricing – Report and T-Mobile & Sprint: Marriage Made in Hell.)

But security risk? From a parent company because it has dealings with a supplier, albeit one that is pilloried for sometimes (though not always) questionable reasons?

How many degrees of separation from a Chinese firm would any company need before a politician didn't ask for a security review? The mind boggles.

In the meantime, here's Johnny!

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
7/5/2018 | 2:50:12 PM
Re: A LITTLE FRINGE...
@Dan: Yep, pretty much. War powers and all. There are exceptions/limitations, of course. Congress can certainly help -- or hinder -- Presidential authority when it comes to this kind of thing. This was particularly at issue in the wake of the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA warrants pursuant to the Congressional AUMF after 9/11.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
7/5/2018 | 2:48:03 PM
Re: Antitrust and nat'l security are separate issues
@Rhodes: To be fair, hardly sounds like an especially sensitive document to be sent/leaked to the press -- especially in a town where press leaks are seemingly as common as rain.
DanJones
DanJones
7/5/2018 | 2:36:23 PM
Re: A LITTLE FRINGE...
President basically has control if he declares something a national security issue. Look at the proposed tariffs on European cars.
Clifton K Morris
Clifton K Morris
7/5/2018 | 1:43:45 PM
A LITTLE FRINGE...
I considered this scenario, it seemed a little “fringe” to me. But yes, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, could possibly loose re-election, and thusly, the German Investment into the US could be used as a bargaining chip (for trade policy or issues). Being 60% owned by DT, and DT’s investment in the US occurred exclusively during Angela Merkel’s tenure as leader of Germany. It certainly can be a threat if political unrest in Europe continues. See: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/982434/German-elections-angela-merkel-news-Germany-coalition-news-EU-migrant-deal
Rhodes1
Rhodes1
7/5/2018 | 3:37:33 AM
Re: Antitrust and nat'l security are separate issues
It sounds like congress is the security risk if internal process gets leaked to the press. 

"A draft letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who leads a U.S. national security review of the deal, is to be sent next week and is being circulated for signatures among lawmakers in the House by congressional critics of the deal, according to a copy obtained by Bloomberg News."

As a reminder about Congress technical competence, perhaps a firewall (or just a wall?) should be placed around Congress.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stXgn2iZAAY 
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
7/4/2018 | 4:51:26 PM
Antitrust and nat'l security are separate issues
If Sprint represents a security risk, why not deal with it previously independent of the merger?

Silliness.
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