FCC chairman says he'll recommend Sprint & T-Mobile merger

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 20
U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said he'll recommend approving a proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, following a series of promises the carriers made for their $26.5 billion deal.

T-Mobile iPhone XS


The pair have agreed to sell off Sprint's Boost Mobile prepaid brand, but keep Metro and Virgin Mobile, Bloomberg reported. That's presumably to allay competition fears, since the three brands combined would control 42% of the country's prepaid market.

Sprint and T-Mobile have also committed to a three-year expansion of their 5G network, and a block on price hikes while that network is being built. Verizon is already charging a premium for 5G mobile access.

The merged entity would see the "Sprint" name disappear under T-Mobile's, and the latter's CEO, John Legere, assume leadership.

The businesses are looking to better challenge the two dominant U.S. carriers, AT&T and Verizon. Critics have worried about a merger further reducing competition and maintaining high prices.

That could still potentially scuttle the deal, which has to be approved by the rest of the FCC as well as the U.S. Justice Department. The carriers recently extended their deadline to July 29.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,959member
    Now less competition, higher prices from ATT and Verizon especially 5G.
    Eric_WVGGdysamoria
  • Reply 2 of 11
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 551member
    Now more competition, faster deployment of 5G, and lower prices from AT&T and Verizon. Finally!
    SoundJudgmentrobbybaehr
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Sprint will disappear... thank god.

    I expect more of the same... degraded performance at T-mobile for at least several years.  Until they remove Sprints trash from their combined network.

    I don’t see how this was the best solution for T-mobile.  They could have purchased assets from Sprints bankruptcy in 5 years.  Sprint doesn’t appear to have much of the way of 5G assets...  The low cost wireless provider was about to become the loooow cost provider.

    T-mobile was likely to become 2nd place to Verizon regardless.  ATT has taken on to much debt...

    The merger might benefit Verizon the most.  They’re going to role out 5G first and charge a “nice” premium...
  • Reply 4 of 11
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,131member
    What? I thought this thing was already a “go”?
  • Reply 5 of 11
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 238member
    I have no idea how this will turn out, but I think there tends to be a limited number of these 'utility' type companies because so much of the cost is fixed infrastructure cost. (In other words, it's pretty hard for a small player to compete on coverage.) I think T-Mobile has done a great job, so I hope they're able to absorb Sprint and not ruin themselves. First thing I'd do is just disband all of Sprint's customer "service" — in my experience, Sprint truly hates its customers.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 438member

    I’d love to see a graphical flow diagram starting with the breakup of Ma Bell leading up to the current lineup of carriers.  This would be right up D.E.D.’s alley.  He does great charts.

    I’m on the fence on this merger.  Every time we see a merger the number of carriers dwindles, which theoretically provides an opportunity for the remaining carriers to raise prices.  The potential for collusion and pricing rigging increases.  Although that is illegal, catching them in the act gets harder with fewer players.

    At the same time the costs of infrastructure maintenance and growth coupled with the move to 5G are astronomical.  T-Mobile and Sprint will not be able to compete with AT&T and Verizon effectively forever and they know it.  Together T-Mobile and Sprint May have enough financial muscle to do so.  So, do you guys want your 5G or not?

  • Reply 7 of 11
    titantigertitantiger Posts: 228member
    There was no way either of these companies on their own were going to compete with Verizon.  And waiting 5 years for Sprint to die is an eternity in technology fields like this. TMobile would never recover.

    It's a good move because without it the likely outcome would be both of them going under in the future.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 551member
    Sprint will disappear... thank god.

    I expect more of the same... degraded performance at T-mobile for at least several years.  Until they remove Sprints trash from their combined network.

    I don’t see how this was the best solution for T-mobile.  They could have purchased assets from Sprints bankruptcy in 5 years.  Sprint doesn’t appear to have much of the way of 5G assets...  The low cost wireless provider was about to become the loooow cost provider.

    T-mobile was likely to become 2nd place to Verizon regardless.  ATT has taken on to much debt...

    The merger might benefit Verizon the most.  They’re going to role out 5G first and charge a “nice” premium...
    Where do you think most Sprint customers will go? Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile? 

    T-Mobile will get a tremendous increase in customer base. If they make money per each customer, their bottom line will increase dramatically, and so they will be able to compete better with Verizon and AT&T. 

    Sprint has has been a disaster for 20 years now. They were the worst cellular provider 20 years ago and they still are the worst. 
  • Reply 9 of 11
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,152member
    JWSC said:

    [...]

    So, do you guys want your 5G or not?

    I don’t care about speeds. What I care about is the quality of voice and reduced drops. Is 5G going to fix that? None of the prior “upgrades” fixed those issues. Those issues seem to be baked into cellular.

    I also don’t want to see prices perpetually increasing when all they’re doing is maintaining hardware on rented towers.

    I don’t want cellular being used to replace land lines for all communications, especially not internet. I don’t care about cellular as much as I care about internet speeds and availability. The USA has garbage for internet infrastructure and these mergers don’t help that issue at all. Due to the needle of Wall Street in their veins, carriers have effectively killed fiber for consumers (if you have fiber on Verizon, you’re one of the lucky few; if you don’t, it’s never coming). They decided fiber leaves them less profit than they want (because they want ALL the money).

    Cellular can’t take ALL THE DATA transmission needed. They’re already lobbying the government to give up reserved bandwidth. This is an unsustainable type of system. It cannot perpetually grow.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 438member
    dysamoria said:
    JWSC said:

    [...]

    So, do you guys want your 5G or not?

    I don’t care about speeds. What I care about is the quality of voice and reduced drops. Is 5G going to fix that? None of the prior “upgrades” fixed those issues. Those issues seem to be baked into cellular.

    I also don’t want to see prices perpetually increasing when all they’re doing is maintaining hardware on rented towers.

    I don’t want cellular being used to replace land lines for all communications, especially not internet. I don’t care about cellular as much as I care about internet speeds and availability. The USA has garbage for internet infrastructure and these mergers don’t help that issue at all. Due to the needle of Wall Street in their veins, carriers have effectively killed fiber for consumers (if you have fiber on Verizon, you’re one of the lucky few; if you don’t, it’s never coming). They decided fiber leaves them less profit than they want (because they want ALL the money).

    Cellular can’t take ALL THE DATA transmission needed. They’re already lobbying the government to give up reserved bandwidth. This is an unsustainable type of system. It cannot perpetually grow.

    Agree that 5G will do nothing for dropped calls.  It may even aggravate the situation.  Having said that I rarely get dropped calls here in southern Arizona on AT&T.  And we’re not exactly in a data rich environment.

    I’m not thrilled about seeing prices increase either.  My monthly AT&T bill is staggering.  But then I have super lousy internet service from HughesNet with a contract that I can’t get out of until October.  More often than not I’m using my unlimited AT&T plan with hotspot functionality for home internet service.  (Can’t say enough disparaging things about HughesNet.  Their satellite service is substantially oversubscribed, which renders them unable to deliver promised speeds.  It’s a borderline criminal enterprise IMO.)

    With all that said, I’m not sure how to put a cap in price increases.  As much as we’d like to think so cellular, internet and all the infrastructure that support it are not commodity services.  They are improving all the time, and rapidly.  Every improvement takes more and more capital to implement.  Capital expenditures to ever improved speed and bandwidth are not linear.  The law of diminishing returns applies.  The risk of mandating price caps is that the carriers and ISPs basically stop improving their networks.

    edited May 20
  • Reply 11 of 11
    ronnronn Posts: 328member
    All the handwringing about less competition: there was no competition. Verizon and AT&T are on a much higher plateau. This merger is key for T-Mobile's survival and to force a bit of competition. Sprint was supposed to be dead by now, so the upcoming job losses have been forthcoming and isn't enough to stop the merger.

    I would have preferred no price increases for five years and higher mandatory coverage guarantees -- the latter for all carriers for pending 5G networks.
    edited May 20
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