U.S. Senate committee sets date for hearing on T-Mobile-Sprint merger


T-Mobile and Sprint may have struck a merger deal, but the agreement will need regulatory approval before it’s allowed to happen. Part of that process will happen next month.

A U.S. Senate committee will hold a hearing on T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger on June 27th. Officials have told Reuters that it’s likely that T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure will testify.

The hearing was announced by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the former being the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcomittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights and the latter being a ranking member of that subcommittee. Here’s what Lee had to say about the hearing:

“Few industries touch Americans’ daily lives as much as the wireless market. As Chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee, I want to make sure that the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint benefits consumers in a manner consistent with existing antitrust law.”

And here’s Klobuchar’s statement:

“The combination of T-Mobile and Sprint raises serious antitrust issues. Competition among the four largest cell phone carriers has led to lower prices, better service and more innovation. That’s why it’s critically important that we hold a hearing to ask serious questions about how this consolidation could affect American consumers.”

Legere and Claure recently met with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC to talk up their merger, but the deal will undergo quite a bit more regulatory scrutiny in the coming months. T-Mobile and Sprint have said that they expect their deal to close no later than the first half of 2019.

Sources: Reuters, Sen. Mike Lee

Tags: , , , , ,

  • Hurlamania

    Let’s get it started

  • Hurlamania

    Is anyone aware of who all will be on the Committiee?

  • Hurlamania

    If the 2 Senators mentioned above are your Senators please call them and support of the merger

    • cellularcrazy09

      How about no.

    • Derek

      Heck NO! NO ONE should want a merger! You must be a real tool to want thousands of people to lose their jobs and experience higher prices just for the sake of better cell phone reception.

      • Trevnerdio

        That’s kind of a poor argument for not wanting a merger. Citing job loss when companies merge is sometimes akin to not getting rid of an antiquated technology all for the sake of saving jobs. It’s oftentimes short-sighted and usually does not pan out in the end.

        • Clifton K. Morris

          Well, in the Legere/Claure Merger Press Release video, they said it will cost $1.5T for Verizon and AT&T to compete with the combined T-Mobile/Sprint entity.

          Put another way, Verizon and AT&T would have to collect over a decade’s worth of revenue from their customerbase to compete. Not sure it’s smart to allow one foreign-owned company that much power across a single industry.

          And your probably going to be put out of business if you are a smaller provider, or new entrant.

        • Trevnerdio

          You are right, but the job argument still stands. If Verizon and AT&T want to compete, there’s nothing stopping them from expanding and hiring a more robust workforce to deal with the newly minted “competition” (140ish million is a lot tougher opponent than 80mil). So many jobs are likely to transfer from company to company, and the net loss of jobs won’t be quite as bad as everyone is thinking. At least, I think so.

        • Wilfredo Martinez

          Transfers of jobs? Why would AT&T and Verizon need to hire more people to compete ? This makes absolutely no sense.

        • Trevnerdio

          At the very least, they would have to build out more infrastructure to keep their networks one step ahead. That requires several different positions, from tower equipment installer to engineer.

        • Sean sorlie

          Agreed. That is the reason we are still burning coal.

        • marque2

          Coal is really useful for powering your iPhone.

        • SirStephenH

          You know some one, somewhere just Googled how to power their iPhone with coal.

        • marque2

          I am still upset about when AT&T laid off all their switchboard operators.

    • dcmanryan

      Lee is mine and I’m 99.99% sure he’ll be against this merger .

  • Jon

    I am all for it because it will be T-Mobile absorbing Sprint. T-Mobile could use the spectrum to build a more robust network. I prefer this because the alternatives are no better i.e. Spectrum, Comcast, Dish. For those who will complain about prices it will go up like everything else whether that be artificial inflation or legit.

    Think about it T-Mobile is in a strong position to push this merger through and come out on top against their competitors. It would be beneficial to merge with Sprint rather than T-Mobile be acquired by someone else or they partner with someone else who isn’t as valuable in spectrum holdings.

    This is just my two cents, I hope it becomes a reality this time around.

    • SirStephenH

      Dish’s spectrum is a far better fit for T-Mobile. Dish owns good sized chunks of band 66 and 71, both of which T-Mobile uses and could deploy quickly and cheaply. Sprint owns spectrum in bands 25, 26, and 41, none of which T-Mobile uses so it will take more effort to deploy and further complicates T-Mobile’s spectrum portfolio.

      • Clifton K. Morris

        Perhaps that’s true. However, T-Mobile decided to merge with a competitor that also has infrastructure; eliminating consumer choices. Also, and don’t soon forget- Sprint also has a fiber optic business.

        In the scope of wireless, there are serious issues. Using national datasets, the initial HHI calculations used in AntiTrust and Competition Law show the merger will exceed a threshold which categorizes the merger as “presumptively illegal”.

      • Sean sorlie

        It would cost much more to deploy that spectrum. That merger could come later though.

        • SirStephenH

          Huh? Dish’s spectrum? Band 66 can be deployed by T-Mobile with a software patch as T-Mobile is already doing nationwide and band 71 can be deployed through software we’re it’s already deployed and alongside future band 71 deployments which will be done nationwide anyways.

          With Sprint, band 25 can likely be deployed through a software patch since it supersedes band 2 just like band 66 supersedes band 4, band 26 may need new antennas and equipment, band 41 will need new antennas and maybe other equipment as well. Band 26 and 41 deployments will need a great deal of tweaking because they’d be new deployments which means hiring more people to check out signal strengths and interference over their entire network. T-Mobile will also have to decommission nearly all of Sprint’s network and upgrade equipment in all their remaining towers to be compatable with T-Mobile’s network.

          Yeah… Pretty sure Sprint’s spectrum will cost more to deploy…

    • Clifton K. Morris

      I’m for it too.

      The combined T-Mobile will have access to over 300Mhz of spectrum, including unlicensed bands.

      So I’ve already written a few letters to congress asking for a few things including a 1Mhz-for-1Mhz divestiture of spectrum in Sprint’s nationwide PCS band for new unlicensed WiFi Services at 20 or 40 watt power. Few remember the first PCS band Sprint bought but it is the same block nationwide, making it perfect donor spectrum for long-range WiFi. Sprint’s band is contiguous nationwide, making it easier for WiFi router Manufacturers to deploy it in a new standard.

      New Cable Modem Standards published last week will support up to 60Gig Speeds, with 10Gig on the horizon. There’s no reason why WiFi should be the bottleneck. However, it will be if T-Mobile owns all the spectrum. High speed data with range shouldn’t be a “luxury” reserved for a handful of companies.

  • pda96

    A big part of me wants this merger to happen (awesome coverage). But a bigger part of me hopes it won’t (higher prices due to less competition).

    • Sharti24

      I agree with you

    • Acdc1a

      That’s assuming Dish doesn’t suddenly decide to disrupt the market. They’ve got to start implementing that spectrum they own or they will lose it.

      • SirStephenH

        If T-Mobile doesn’t move on them soon, they’ll probably work out a deal with Verizon or AT&T to deploy their spectrum on their network.

    • (J²)

      Eh, it’s unlikely that prices will increase as a direct result of the merger. T-Mobile still has to compete with Verizon and AT&T and any new entrants into the wireless industry. If I recall correctly, the merger would still have T-Mobile in 3rd place, which means – unfortunately – still the underdog.

      Prices may go up once 5G rolls out and I’m sure it will be blamed on M&A activity but that’s not the case. The same happened when 4G took off, prices went up.

      So yes, prices will indeed eventually go up.

      Remember, T-Mobile is looking to compete with companies that offer TV, Home Phone, Internet and Cell Phone so improving it’s network is a must. If you look at companies that offer all 4 bundled services, the competitors are only Verizon and AT&T with Comcast and Spectrum likely joining that list in the future.

      For these companies, TV isn’t profitable, Home Phone isn’t profitable. Expect inflated prices for Internet and Cell Phone to continue until we have a force (like T-Mobile) to disrupt all industries.

      Do you want the future of those industries to be run by these companies, some of which are among the industries most hated?

      • SirStephenH

        Sprint is the only budget carrier putting downward pressure on T-Mobile’s prices. Without Sprint there’s little reason for T-Mobile to do anything but keep their prices slightly below AT&T and Verizon’s.

        • (J²)

          Not true. Sprint is a non-factor in the industry which is why the owners are desperate to sell them.

    • Gotallofthem

      You still have ATT and Verizon, plus all the other Wireless companies out there, that are chomping away at a piece of teh pie each and every day.

      For example let say that somehow Sprint, verizon and ATT where way over priced. Are you under the impression that people wouldn’t move to anyone of the other 50 carriers? Thereby making these smaller companies now bigger?

  • O. L. Jackson

    I’m all for it!!!

    I would prefer DISH but Sprint has the infrastructure

    • Sean sorlie

      I believe that merger will follow a year after this one. Unless they are able to leverage layer 3 well enough that they don’t need Dish.

      • O. L. Jackson

        I was thinking the same thing too Sean

      • Trevnerdio

        Nah, way too soon. They’re gonna be financially limited for a while after this deal.

    • SirStephenH

      What infrastructure? T-Mobile will be shutting down nearly all of Sprint’s infrastructure, only keeping a handful of Sprint’s cell sites and stores. Dish’s spectrum can easily be put to use because they own bands that T-Mobile already uses while Sprit’s will take major work to deploy.

  • Charmed79

    Hopefully they fix these security holes that keep popping up first! Everyone wants this merger, but doesn’t seem to care that tmobile keeps getting hacked!

  • Wilfredo Martinez

    The merger is bad for consumers and it will eventually be blocked by the DOJ. Economics and data will prove that the proposed merger is anticompetitive and unnecessary. T-Mobile will lose 600 millions dollars to Sprint. This is a waste of time.

    • Gotallofthem

      Im a consumer and I am fine with the merger