Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Rural telecoms, groups oppose T-Mobile/Sprint merger

Rural internet carriers and several lobbying groups, including competing telecommunications firms, have joined forces as the 4Competition Coalition to try to stop T-Mobile's efforts to purchase Sprint, David McCabe reports for Axios. The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice are reviewing the deal, partly because of security concerns that the Chinese technology used by the two companies could make the U.S. more vulnerable to espionage.

While T-Mobile and Sprint say the merger will help them roll out 5G technology, the coalition believes that going from four national wireless carriers to three will hurt consumers and won't deliver the benefits that T-Mobile and Sprint promise, McCabe reports.

Members of the coalition include Kansas carrier United Wireless Communications, Pennsylvania carrier Indigo Wireless, the Rural Wireless Association, The Rural Broadband Association, the American Antitrust Institute, the Demand Progress Education Fund, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, DISH Networks, and the AFL-CIO.

T-Mobile and Sprint tried to merge in 2014 but the Obama-era FCC denied the deal, saying the wireless market wouldn't be competitive enough.

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