Monday, April 30, 2018

Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint could boost rural wireless

Sprint and T-Mobile announced a $26.5 billion, all-stock merger which, if approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, could increase consumer costs but increase wireless access in rural areas.

The two companies tried to merge in 2014 but the Obama-era FCC denied the deal, concerned that the wireless market wasn't competitive enough. In October the companies called off a second attempt after T-Mobile had been adding customers for years, but started talking again. Sprint is deep in debt and "hasn’t invested enough in its network and doesn’t have enough airwave rights for quality service in rural areas," Stan Choe and Tari Arbel report for The Associated Press.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and T-Mobile CEO John Legere told reporters "the combination would allow them to better compete not only with AT&T and Verizon but also with Comcast and others as the wireless, broadband and video industries converge," Choe and Arbel report. They also said they plan to expand in rural areas. The company will be called T-Mobile.

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