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The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint confuses telecommunications policy



Representative Anna Eshoo (D-California) has been working in the telecommunications industry over the years on issues such as net neutrality and data protection. However, on Wednesday it kicked off in support of T-Mobile and Sprint.

Eshoo, speaking at a hearing of the US Parliament's Energy and Commerce Committee on the $ 26.5 billion Sprint acquisition announced in April 2018, said the deal would reduce the number of major US airlines reduce four to three. Eshoo, however, argued that this is the wrong way to look at it.

"This is hardly a competitive, dynamic market we have," she said, noting that AT & T and Verizon together control two-thirds of the mobile services and Internet market for many years. "In any case, we have a duopoly in the country, and Americans pay some of the highest prices for mobile services in the developed world." Eshoo argued that the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint would allow the merged entity to compete more aggressively with AT & T and Verizon.

The proposed T-Mobile Sprint deal undermines the policy of mergers of telecoms companies that have traditionally seen the Democrats more skeptical. In 201

1, the Obama Department of Justice sued AT & T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, and the Democratic Party-led Federal Communications Commission successfully ended a previous merger attempt by T-Mobile and Sprint in 2014. This time, the airlines get more sympathy from Democrats. Last month, six other Democrats and Eshoo and six Republicans joined in a letter to the FCC and the Justice Department to support the merger. He argued that the merged company could provide the next generation of wireless services called 5G faster than the two companies could be independent. T-Mobile commissioned former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat and convinced net neutrality advocate, to advise the company on the merger. "I advise T-Mobile and Sprint to accelerate the creation of a comprehensive nationwide 5G network on how best to bridge the digital divide," Clyburn told Politico this month.

Critics of the deal do not buy these arguments. Phillip Berenbroick of the public awareness advocacy group pointed out that some of the allegations made by the two airlines now reflect 5G's statements made by AT & T and T-Mobile over 4G. When AT & T first agreed to buy the smaller airline, it claimed that T-Mobile did not have a "clear delivery path" for 4G. Ultimately, T-Mobile built a 4G network that, according to OpenSignal, exceeds the speed and range of the two large networks. It also became profitable. According to a report commissioned by the wireless industry group CTIA last year, the US was the world leader.

Since the completion of the AT & T deal in 2011, T-Mobile has simplified pricing, abolished annual contracts, and rushed past Sprint becoming the third largest airline in the US, forcing other airlines to adjust their own pricing and contracts along the way. It is a rare ray of hope for the telecoms industry, which has become increasingly consolidated. Over the years, the seven baby bells created by AT & T's separation in 1982 have been grouped into three companies: AT & T, CenturyLink and Verizon. Other parts of the telecommunications industry have also consolidated. Sprint bought Nextel 2004, Verizon MCI 2006, and XO 2016 and CenturyLink Level 3 2016.

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The WIRED Guide to 5G [19659009] Instead of undoing or halting this consolidation, Eshoo considers the best way To maintain competition is to allow even more consolidation, as smaller companies are otherwise destroyed by the giants. Groups representing carriers smaller than Sprint or T-Mobile do not agree. Carri Bennet of the Rural Wireless Association said Sprint is the only major airline offering cheap roaming rates to rural carriers. "According to our members, T-Mobile's roaming rates are 20 times higher than in Sprint," she said. She also alleged that T-Mobile refused to reach agreements that would allow T-Mobile customers to operate in rural networks and referred to a FCC investigation last year that found that Mobile was unable to connect many calls to rural networks and be fake ringtones to cover up the mistake, and customers believe that a call was unanswered. "We believe T-Mobile's destructive behavior may even continue to be more aggressive once its rival Sprint is eliminated," she said.

T-Mobile boss John Legere pledged several times during Wednesday's hearing that the combined companies would cut prices if the deal came to fruition. The Incompas industry group, which was co-founded by Sprint in 1981, issued a statement against the agreement on Tuesday before the hearing, pointing out that T-Mobile could increase wholesaler wholesale prices even if T-Mobile lowered its prices Consumer does not increase. "T-Mobile and Sprint were important soldiers in this fight for more competition," said Incompas CEO Chip Pickering. "While I understand their desire to marry, I believe consumers want them to continue playing." Shortly after the statement, Sprint announced that it would leave Incompas.

Even though critics of the agreement can persuade Parliament to oppose the agreement, Congress can do little. The fate of the merger lies in the hands of the Ministry of Justice and the FCC. William Barr, the nominated lawyer, has a long tradition of promoting telecommunications consolidation, and the Republican majority of the FCC has generally sided with industry.

However, this still does not guarantee the merger. Last year, the FCC surprisingly surprised that Sinclair Broadcasting's proposed acquisition of the Tribune Company, which would have joined together two of the largest owners of television channels in the country, would have collided. The Justice Department, cartel chief Makan Delrahim, attempted to block AT & T's acquisition of Time Warner.


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