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Proposed Sprint-T-Mobile Merger Blasted by CWA, Advocacy Groups

Merger rumor

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and other advocacy groups Wednesday doubled down on their opposition to T-Mobile’s planned $26 billion acquisition of Sprint.

In addition to the CWA, Public Knowledge, Free Press and the Rural Wireless Association said they will submit additional comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the two companies’ latest claims and assertions.

T-Mobile Wednesday announced it has received shareholder approval on proposals related to the merger.

“This is another step forward in creating the New T-Mobile, so we can deliver on our promise to bring robust competition to the 5G era, giving consumers more for less and creating jobs,” said John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO. “For more than five years, T-Mobile’s ‘un-carrier’ strategy has disrupted the wireless industry, and together with Sprint we will continue our mission by securing U.S. leadership in nationwide 5G, creating a real alternative to fixed broadband and bringing a consumer-first mentality to entrenched giants.”

CWA's Debbie Goldman

CWA’s Debbie Goldman

Debbie Goldman, the CWA’s research director and telecommunications policy director, said the merger would eliminate 30,000 jobs and raise prices for consumers, while still leaving rural communities without access to high-speed broadband.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

Also, while the two companies have made speculative claims about job growth, neither has refuted the CWA’s job loss claims, she said.

The CWA has launched a website and twitter handle (@TMSprintFacts) to lobby against approval of the merger. And last month, Chris Shelton, CWA president, wrote letters to all 50 state attorneys general pressing for deeper investigations into the proposed tie-up.

Public Knowledge's Phillips Berenbroick

Public Knowledge’s Phillip Berenbroick

Phillip Berenbroick, Public Knowledge’s senior policy counsel, said post-merger the New T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon would control about 99 percent of the wireless market.

“Such a marketplace would leave customers facing higher prices, reduced variety in products and services, lower innovation, poorer quality of service, and reduced incentives to invest and compete,” he said. “The transaction would also dramatically raise the already high barriers for new market entry, and make it difficult for small rural providers and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to continue to serve their customers. The merger is anti-competitive and does not serve the public interest. It should be rejected.”

Gaurav Laroia, Free Press‘ policy counsel, said the merger has “serious implications for poor people, people of color and other marginalized communities.”

“T-Mobile and Sprint’s competition for value-conscious customers have lowered prices, spurred innovative offerings, and brought phone service and some internet access to communities who would otherwise be left on the wrong side of the digital divide,” he said. “The cellular market is already at a record high concentration, lessening competition overall and removing it almost entirely from the prepaid market will leave the most vulnerable far worse off.”


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