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5 U.S. senators urge hearing on T-Mobile/Sprint merger

January 24, 2019

 

Opposition to T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint is growing. A group of five Democratic U.S. senators sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee urging them to hold a hearing to examine the potential impact of the deal on consumer choice and competition in the wireless market.

 

“The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint would reduce the number of national wireless carriers from four to three. This reduction in competition raises a number of important questions that the committee should address,” wrote Sens. Edward Markey, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Udall, Tammy Baldwin and Richard Blumenthal.

 

“Since the merger was announced, some have argued that it will lead to harmful repercussions for consumers such as higher prices, fewer choices and less flexibility in switching carriers,” the senators wrote. “For example, both T-Mobile and Sprint consistently offer competitive products that have exerted pressure on AT&T and Verizon to offer more consumer-friendly data plans and eliminate restrictive long-term contracts. We should examine the impact of combining these two disruptors into one mega-company.”

 

The senators also contend that more examination should be done regarding the impact the merger will have on the deployment of 5G services. “T-Mobile and Sprint have argued that their merger is necessary for successful deployment of a robust nationwide 5G network, despite previous individual assertions by each company made prior to the merger boasting of their own progress building towards 5G,” the senators wrote.

 

“The potential consequences of this merger are too great for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to ignore,” the group of senators concluded.

 

Rural carriers’ collective opposition to the proposed merger is also gaining momentum. Five new organizations—Blue Wireless, Pine Belt Cellular, Mobile Beacon, Telsasoft and the North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation—have joined the 4Competition Coalition, which was formed last month to challenge the deal. The alliance gained additional members earlier this month and is now comprised of 23 members total.

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