FCC approves $26.5 billion T-Mobile and Sprint merger

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2019
The Federal Communications Commission has given the green light for the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, with Wednesday's vote of approval for the joining of the two companies being one of the last hurdles needed to be cleared for the transaction to proceed.




The vote was split along party lines, with Chairman Ajit Pai and the two Republican commissioners approving the $26.5 billion deal while the pair of Democrat commissioners voted to deny the merger. The FCC is anticipated to release the text of the approval order before the end of this month.

The approval was first reported by Reuters, and marks the last approval needed to be granted by a US government regulator before it could proceed. The U.S. Department of Justice offered its approval of the merger in July, though with the added requirement the combined entity to support eSIM technology.

The two denouncing commissioners have already passed comment on the merger, with Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel arguing in The Atlantic the deal will "only hurt consumers" with price surges and job losses. Rosenworcel highlights how mergers in a concentrated market lead to price gouging, such as baggage fees and smaller seats for airlines and the price rises of pharmaceuticals, suggesting "There's no reason to think the mobile phone industry will be different."

A similar story is offered by Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, accusing the majority voters of turning "to the parties for paper-thin commitments that they will expand broadband access and the deployment of 5G. But these promises cannot mask reality. You don't need to be an expert to know that going from four wireless carriers to three will hurt competition."

While the merger has passed practically all regulatory hurdles, it still has one more to go before it can proceed. A bipartisan lawsuit from 13 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia is needed to conclude for the merger to resolve.

The group of state attorneys are concerned the merger isn't the best deal for consumers, againt with issues over reduced competition in the marketplace. The effective turning of Dish Network into a potential fourth major carrier is also given a dim view by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

"The promises made by Dish and T-Mobile in this deal are the kinds of promises only robust competition can guarantee," The Verge reports James as claiming in July following the DOJ approval of the deal. "We have serious concerns that cobbling together this new fourth mobile player, with the government picking winners and losers, will not address the merger's harm to consumers, workers, and innovation."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    Except that Sprint is not a significant driving force for lower prices. T-Mobile has been—first with separating device financing from mobile service, and then by pushing unlimited for a reasonable price. Sprint, like the other carriers, simply followed.

    T-Mobile’s approach has been in response to Verizon, not Sprint. Losing Sprint as a separate carrier will not affect consumers’ wallets anytime soon and possibly never.

    Though I dislike Sprint so I’m bugged by the merger with T-Mobile. But if the new entity continues the same approach as T-Mobile then I’ll have nothing legitimate to complain about.
    602warrenretrogustocurtis hannahcy_starkmanlongpathn2itivguycornchipllamarepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 24
    We actually have six wireless networks in the US. C-Spire and US Cellular both operate independent networks, though they don’t have coverage in every state.  The opposition claims we’ll be left with only 3 networks, which if true would still be enough to foster good competition, but there will actually be 5 instead of the current 6.  As a T Mobile customer I am looking forward to this merger as it will likely drastically improve already greatly expanding coverage. 
    edited October 2019 cy_starkmanlongpathn2itivguycornchiprepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Good.
    mdriftmeyer
  • Reply 4 of 24
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,646member
    pigybank said:
    We actually have six wireless networks in the US. C-Spire and US Cellular both operate independent networks, though they don’t have coverage in every state.  The opposition claims we’ll be left with only 3 networks, which if true would still be enough to foster good competition, but there will actually be 5 instead of the current 6.  As a T Mobile customer I am looking forward to this merger as it will likely drastically improve already greatly expanding coverage. 
    There really isn't any competition and won't be as long as Ajit Pai is inc charge of the FCC. Net Neutrality was cancelled so there's nothing keeping any of the wireless network providers from doing whatever they want to do, which almost always ends up being bad for the consumer and great for stock holders and media companies.
    Soliviclauyycchasmronncashawwdysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Since when are state attorneys concerned with giving us consumers the best deal?  Were they all out on vacation when AT&T bought DirecTV?  
    edited October 2019 n2itivguymdriftmeyerbigtdsnetlingrepressthis
  • Reply 6 of 24
    The loss of Net Neutrality surprisingly has only helped consumers. Faster speeds and more infrastructure is being built. Who knew that that one was a total miss call by people. It really hasn't been a problem at all, if anything, it's ended up being better.
    edited October 2019 lkrupplongpathn2itivguySpamSandwichbig kcmonstrosity
  • Reply 7 of 24
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,260member
    We've actually had a pseudo-duopoly for several years - AT&T, Verizon and a smattering of smaller carriers. T-Mo was the largest of these but they still had a hard time competing against the big 2. I have a hard time believing that this merger will harm consumers. If anything it will make T-mo better able to compete.

    retrogustolkruppcy_starkmanlongpathn2itivguybig kcronnllamarepressthisrussw
  • Reply 8 of 24
    effzer0effzer0 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    As a condition of the merger the fourth major carrier will be spun off by dish network. The company has been sitting on tons of spectrum and will now be able to utilize it with this merger. 

    “The satellite TV provider Dish has reached an agreement with the two carriers that will see it acquire “prepaid businesses” (meaning Boost Mobile) for $1.5 billion and spectrum assets for another $3.5 billion.”
    curtis hannahn2itivguy
  • Reply 9 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    pigybank said:
    We actually have six wireless networks in the US. C-Spire and US Cellular both operate independent networks, though they don’t have coverage in every state.  The opposition claims we’ll be left with only 3 networks, which if true would still be enough to foster good competition, but there will actually be 5 instead of the current 6.  As a T Mobile customer I am looking forward to this merger as it will likely drastically improve already greatly expanding coverage. 
    C-Spire is new to me. Their Wikipedia page has plenty of data that seems to back up your comments, but the wikipage detailing MNOs doesn't list them at all.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    Sprint, the ever looming threat to verizon and at&t that by virtue of its strong commercial position kept them honest and trying to avoid being eclipsed by sprint.

    i doubt at&t would have accepted the iphone or rolled out 3g if it wasn’t for sprint snapping at their heels. apple probably threatened at the negotiating table to go with sprint and see at&t crushed within 2 yrs,

     thought nobody ever
    edited October 2019
  • Reply 11 of 24
    Sprint would eventually go out of business anyway if they weren’t allowed to merge with T-Mobile.
    llama
  • Reply 12 of 24
    The loss of Net Neutrality surprisingly has only helped consumers. Faster speeds and more infrastructure is being built. Who knew that that one was a total miss call by people. It really hasn't been a problem at all, if anything, it's ended up being better.
    Those build outs are mainly due to municipalities building their own networks.
    cornchipronndysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 24
    Sprint, the ever looming threat to verizon and at&t that by virtue of its strong commercial position kept them honest and trying to avoid being eclipsed by sprint.

    i doubt at&t would have accepted the iphone or rolled out 3g if it wasn’t for sprint snapping at their heels. apple probably threatened at the negotiating table to go with sprint and see at&t crushed within 2 yrs,

     thought nobody ever
    Don't you mean Cingular?
    cornchipcy_starkmanllama
  • Reply 14 of 24
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,856member
    as long as everything Sprint but the towers is shitcanned, should go OK
  • Reply 15 of 24
    Sprint, the ever looming threat to verizon and at&t that by virtue of its strong commercial position kept them honest and trying to avoid being eclipsed by sprint.

    i doubt at&t would have accepted the iphone or rolled out 3g if it wasn’t for sprint snapping at their heels. apple probably threatened at the negotiating table to go with sprint and see at&t crushed within 2 yrs,

     thought nobody ever
    The original iPhone was going to come out under Cingular but in the 6 months between announcement and release, Cingular and AT&T merger and AT& T inherited the cash cow and exclusivity
    cy_starkmanllama
  • Reply 16 of 24
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,391member
    pigybank said:
    We actually have six wireless networks in the US. C-Spire and US Cellular both operate independent networks, though they don’t have coverage in every state.
    If they don't have coverage in every state, then they aren't a national carrier. While not every quote from every concerned party in the article adds the word "national" in front of "carrier," it should be inferred from the discussion. So US Cellular and C-Spire are not included in the count.
    ronndysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 24
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,391member
    I expected no less of a decision from this corrupt FCC and its industry-shill chair. The FCC is not looking out for consumers and so my hopes rest with the state attorneys general and their lawsuit. Promising to expand 5G is an empty hat on which to hang this merger; they would have had to do this anyway just to keep up with the rest of the world. Ultimately this will result in fewer options, higher prices, many job cuts, and even lower customer satisfaction scores.

    I'm not even going to address the stupidity of the commenter who said that the loss of net neutrality hasn't hurt them (yet) and therefore its not a big deal, except to say that if you place a lobster in a pot and turn up the temperature slowly, it never figures out it is being boiled to death. You really need some better long-term thinking skills.
    ronndysamoria
  • Reply 18 of 24
    Sprint, the ever looming threat to verizon and at&t that by virtue of its strong commercial position kept them honest and trying to avoid being eclipsed by sprint.

    i doubt at&t would have accepted the iphone or rolled out 3g if it wasn’t for sprint snapping at their heels. apple probably threatened at the negotiating table to go with sprint and see at&t crushed within 2 yrs,

     thought nobody ever
    The original iPhone was going to come out under Cingular but in the 6 months between announcement and release, Cingular and AT&T merger and AT& T inherited the cash cow and exclusivity
    i was evidently aiming for humour over historical accuracy.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    The loss of Net Neutrality surprisingly has only helped consumers. Faster speeds and more infrastructure is being built. Who knew that that one was a total miss call by people. It really hasn't been a problem at all, if anything, it's ended up being better.
    Exactly. It was only 'Net Neutrality' in name only. With attention spans of 30 seconds, that seems to be all you have to do to fool people nowadays. 
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 20 of 24
    Having a 4th company is tricky due to not enough spectrum to have a good competitor without reallocating everyone’s spectrum.  Ensuring three strong wireless competitors and one weak instead of two strong and two weak is probably an improvement though.
    netling
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