Boost Mobile Founder Challenges Rep. Eshoo to Merger Debate

Rep. Anna Eshoo has gamely deflected criticism for supporting T-Mobile’s proposed $26.5 billion Sprint acquisition, saying she believes the deal would help consumers and has nothing to do with the $572,000 in career donations from Big Telecom or being a pro-monopoly shill for the industry.

The Palo Alto Democrat—a veteran member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that’s probing the merger—even wrote an op-ed in response to Fly’s commentary to explain her stance. The congresswoman’s March 5 column draw more of the same critiques in its attendant comment thread, but one in particular stood out.

Someone claiming to be Peter Adderton, the founder of Boost Mobile, called Eshoo’s justification for the merger astonishingly naïve. “This is word for word from the T-Mobile hype machine,” he wrote before challenging Eshoo to a debate.

Adderton’s been calling for public debates with various parties involved in the merger, including T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, so Fly reached out to see if this was another one of the Boost scion’s double-dog dares.

Indeed it was Adderton, who explained in a phone call that he’s not against the merger, per se; he just wants lawmakers like Eshoo to impose certain conditions on the mega deal. That is, to protect the tens of millions of low-income prepaid customers of Sprint subsidiary Boost and T-Mobile counterpart Metro PCS who’d be impacted by the corporate union. He even launched a website to dispel some of the misinformation he claims has clouded the conversation about the pending deal in the media and in D.C.

Unless the FCC requires the prepaid affiliates to spin off, he cautioned, customers would get stuck with less competition and higher rates.

After the call, the prepaid mobile mogul forwarded his debate invite directly to Eshoo’s office. Last we heard, she’d yet to respond. “I doubt she’ll get back to me,” Adderton said. “But I’m serious. I’d love to debate her anytime, anyplace. Let’s put it on Facebook Live.”

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The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

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