T-Mobile isn’t worried about the FCC’s net neutrality rules

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A second major wireless carrier has publicly dismissed the supposedly devastating effects of the net neutrality rules that the FCC is expected to implement, expanding a schism in an industry that faces new scrutiny from an empowered Federal Communications Commission.

On Thursday, T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert told the Wall Street Journal that the FCC’s likely new rules didn’t look like they would affect the company’s bottom line or how it did business.

“There is nothing in there that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy,” Sievert said of Title II reclassification, in which the FCC would define the Internet as a public utility in order to regulate how ISPs can manage their networks.

Sievert did not go so far as to endorse reclassification. His statement also seemed at odds with comments from T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere, who urged the FCC not to “kill competition with overzealous regulation” in a Nov. 10 tweetstorm.

Nevertheless, with its COO’s statement, T-Mobile staked out neutral ground in the contentious debate over Title II. Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the nation’s two largest wireless carriers, strongly oppose Title II reclassification. (It was a 2014 court case called Verizon v. FCC that led to the overturning of the agency’s previous attempt at net neutrality and spurred Chairman Tom Wheeler to consider alternative options.) Sprint, the third largest carrier, actually filed a brief with the FCC supporting proposed Title II action.

Illustration by Jason Reed

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.