House Communications Subcommittee Gets Wildy Divergent Views of T-Mobile-Sprint Impact

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The major takeway from the House Communications Subcommittee hearing on the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger was that regulators are having to reconcile wildly divergent views of the impact of the deal. According to the various witnesses at the hearing on the deal:

  • It will either reduce jobs by as many as 30,000 and reduce wages by as much as $3,000 per year (Communications Workers of America), or will absolutely increase jobs "on day one and beyond" (T-Mobile). CWA suggested that trusting the companies with jobs was like trusting a vampire with a bloodbank. T-Mobile CEO John Legere was asked by Rep Darren Soto (D-FL) if he would accept his pledges of no job losses and rates not going up for three years being made binding conditions of the deal. He said he would commit to that in any fashion.
  • It is either necessary to speed the investment in, and deployment of, "full, broad and deep" national 5G next-gen wireless, including in rural areas (T-Mobile and Sprint), or it is not necessary that the companies combine to speed that rollout, which they will undertake separately anyway, and that rural communities will not necessarily benefit (Rural Wireless Association).
  • It will either raise prices to consumers and wholesalers and reduce choices (Public Knowledge) or it won't (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation).

Another big takeaway is that former Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has joined with Rep Billy Long (R-MO) and a handful of other legislators in support of the merger. Rep Eshoo used her time during the hearing not to ask a question, but explain her support for the deal. She said she had met with stakeholders, and given a lot of thought to it. She said healthy competition and protecting consumers were her guiding principles.

House Communications Subcommittee Gets Wildy Divergent Views of T-Mobile-Sprint (B&C) House Dems grill T-Mobile, Sprint execs on merger (The Hill) Congress challenges T-Mobile, Sprint on merits of merger (Fierce) T-Mobile’s Sprint Takeover Comes Under New Attack (WSJ) The T-Mobile-Sprint merger is a dizzying deal for regulators (Vox)