T-Mobile places focus on being more competitive in latest Sprint merger filing with FCC

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When T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their proposed merger, 5G was a major focus of their arguments in support of the deal. They even created called their website www.Allfor5G.com and used the #5GforAll hashtag. Now the two companies may be shifting gears and making a different argument a major focus.

A new document recently filed to the FCC by T-Mobile places a focus on arguing that it needs to merge with Sprint to help it better compete with AT&T and Verizon. The doc is lengthy, coming in at 136 pages, and while a lot of it is heavily redacted, it’s clear that T-Mo is arguing that combining with Sprint will help to increase competition in the U.S. wireless market.

“The merging parties’ rationale for the proposed merger is to combine complementary T-Mobile and Sprint assets so as to better compete with the two historical leaders, AT&T and Verizon,” T-Mo says. “In particular, the merging parties expect that the New T-Mobile network will provide better performance for more consumers than the T-Mobile and Sprint standalones, with higher network quality and lower marginal costs.”

Some analysts suggest that T-Mobile may have filed this new document because regulators weren’t very receptive to their previous arguments. Andrew Schartzman, an expert in telecommunications law, told Bloomberg that the filing may suggest that T-Mo and Sprint ran into resistance from regulators and are trying their luck with a new argument. Schartzman added that the deal still faces “fundamental obstacles”.

Meanwhile, Blair Levin, a former FCC chief of staff who’s now with the public policy group the Brookings Institution, has said that T-Mobile and Sprint’s “first filing was not sufficient.” “So the question is will incremental changes put it over the top? Or is the government suggesting that while the companies should get a second bite at the apple, their case has a serious flaw?”

T-Mobile and Sprint have remained confident that their proposed merger will be approved. The companies have said before that they expect the deal to close in the first half of 2019, but T-Mo CFO Braxton Carter recently suggested that it could happen as early as Q1 2019. The deal is still under review by regulators, with the FCC recently saying that it plans to restart its informal 180-day clock on its review of the merger after it received “substantial body of new material on economic issues central to the review of the proposed transaction.”

Sources: Bloomberg, FCC

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  • Hurlamania

    Hard to argue when you don’t have anything that is competitive with Sprint package wise and you’re raising your prices and getting rid of packages and creating nonsense packages to make it look like you’re competing with other people

    • this deal will go through, regardless of hurdles.

    • vrm

      Sprint’s pricing and service packages have not stopped or slowed down t-mobile’s gains in subscriber numbers. Their profit, cash flow and subscriber numbers have been growing continuously.

      Regarding t-mobile’s own pricing, remember that ALL that has happened well before any merger. In fact, t-mobile’s pricing has gone up while sprint’s has gone lower and YET, t-mobile has benefited more. All this drives the argument that at least for sprint, teaming up with t-mobile is imperative for survival and a combined co is better overall because a standalone Sprint will not survive. Softbank hasn’t been keen to invest money in Sprint even after the previous merger attempt failed.

      • SirStephenH

        T-Mobile made several price increases THIS YEAR, all while trying to get this merger through. The worst example of T-Mobile’s price increases this year was how TM nearly doubled the price of Plus International, then canceled it, then replaced it with a plan with a couple more bells and whistles to try to justify a doubling of price, then neutered the data allotment.

      • Eric A

        You’re basically making the case as to why T-Mobile shouldn’t/doesn’t have to merge with Sprint.

    • GinaDee

      T-Mobile’s biggest problem is that they created low priced packages years ago when their network wasn’t so good that appealed to the value conscious crowd.

      Now their network is leaps and bounds better so they are trying to raise prices in line with their product offering. That won’t appease the value conscious crowd who protest any price increase regardless.

  • GinaDee

    The article above cites a lawyer for the CWA who states the rationale for the merger is not sufficient. Not surprising that they would be against the merger as they’ve been very vocal against it from the start.

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  • Eric A

    I guess T-Mobile has abandoned the facade of the merger being about better service at lower prices. Now it’s to be “competitive” with Verizon and AT&T – which is code for charging more for the same service.

  • DKBNYC

    T-Mobile should stick to the facts. Lay down the case of what the industry was before going the uncarrier direction and how it’s change as the uncarrier shook things up… How the other players had to change their rules to stay in the game. How this will translate into savings for the industry.