Taking A Look At The Likely Consumer Advocate, Regulatory Impact Of T-Mobile, MetroPCS

The opposition to AT&T’s proposed takeover was fiercely led by a number of consumer advocate groups including Public Knowledge, which has a decidedly different, if not indifferent tone for T-Mobile, MetroPCS.

“We hate to see companies like MetroPCS shut down, but in this situation, we can see how this merger can add to the overall competitiveness of the field,” said Bartees Cox, communications associate at Public Knowledge. “With AT&T and Verizon getting so strong, this would be a good way to compete against them [and] we’re hoping it will eventually lower prices for consumers.”

Another lead group was Free Press, which also has taken on an indifferent tone for the deal says Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press:

“We need stronger competitors to push back against the AT&T-Verizon juggernaut, ones that will force these carriers to compete on price and service quality. But consolidation at the bottom between a regional prepaid carrier and the last-place national carrier is not going to fix all of the problems in our wireless market,” he said in a statement.

Even the Rural Telecommunications Group composed of rural wireless carriers that tend to freak out over big-carrier mergers took a positive tone:

“T-Mobile and MetroPCS will be able to provide a competitive, and hopefully long-lasting, alternative to the Twin Bells of AT&T and Verizon,” RTG general counsel Carri Bennet said in a statement. “Having a healthy, vibrant fourth LTE competitor is critical to preserving competition in the mobile wireless market. A post-merger T-Mobile truly committed to being a value-leader benefits all consumers.”

Ok, so we’ve determined that most of the very loud consumer groups that vehemently opposed a T-Mobile, AT&T deal won’t bark over the proposed, T-Mobile/MetroPCS deal.

That brings us to regulators, the group of agencies that will have the ultimate decision in the merger moving forward. According to the Wall Street Journal, sources close to the FCC expects a speedy confirmation to the deal because of the involvement of a struggling national carrier and a regional player.

Blair Levin, a former FCC Chief of Staff says that government officials would likely be pleased with this deal as it strengths T-Mobile:

“If I were sitting in the [Department of Justice] right now I would say this completely justifies what we did,” Mr. Levin said.

Now, we wait.

PCMag, Wall Street Journal

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