News came today that T-Mobile and Sprint providers have finally agreed to merge companies. The third and fourth largest mobile providers in the U.S. intend to merge in a $26 billion deal that will leave only three mobile providers. The combined companies will be known under the T-Mobile name, headed by current T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
I’m excited to announce that @TMobile & @Sprint
have reached an agreement to come together to form a new company – a larger, stronger competitor that will be a force for positive change for all US consumers and businesses! Watch this & click through for details.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) April 29, 2018
This is not the first time a deal has been discussed; in 2014, the two companies proposed a similar merger that was denied by the FCC. It was concluded that four major cellphone providers makes for a more consumer-friendly marketplace. However, under the current administration and the FCC headed by Republican chairman Ajit Pai, the two companies are more determined to finalize a successful merge. Still, it is unclear whether the deal will be approved or not.
As the third and fourth largest providers beneath AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint would have roughly 100 million customers combined. Additionally, they cite progress towards 5G as another reason for the merge. The burden of increased investment in the new, 5G infrastructure could be lessened by joining forces. While this might aid their successful competition with Verizon and AT&T, the question still stands as to whether or not this decision is anti-consumer. It is unclear what the FCC will conclude about this deal, but conclusions brought forth from the 2014 case are still valid – more providers means more competition, and better prices for consumers.