Mobile pledges three-year price clampdown if merger is approved

Judy Cobb
February 7, 2019

The company also reiterated its plan to use Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum and T-Mobile's nationwide block of 600 MHz for its 5G deployment.

"While we are combining our networks over the next three years, T-Mobile today is submitting to the commission a commitment that I stand behind - a commitment that New T-Mobile will make available the same or better rate plans for our services as those offered today by T-Mobile or Sprint", Legere wrote in the letter. T-Mobile has been by far the fastest growing wireless carrier in recent years, but ended 2018 with just under 80 million customers, trailing AT&T (t) and Verizon (vz), which reported 153 million and 118 million subscribers, respectively.

In its more detailed proposal, T-Mobile (tmus) said it might raise prices under some circumstances it termed "not within the control" of the merged company. It is undergoing an antitrust review by the Justice Department and the FCC must decide that the transaction is in the public interest. But having served for almost a decade on the commission, Clyburn knows all the ins and outs of the agency and how it approaches merger reviews, making her experience invaluable to T-Mobile as it tries to persuade the FCC and the Justice Department to bless its acquisition. Such situations included potentially raising prices to pass through increased costs from taxes, fees and surcharges, or costs for services from third parties.

But from another perspective, Clyburn's involvement with T-Mobile serves to inoculate the company from critics who argue the deal will be largely bad for consumers because it will mean the elimination of a competitor from the US wireless market.

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In a letter sent to the United States FCC Chairman, John Legere outlines some of the expectations that “the New T-Mobile” has in terms of keeping prices competitive while offering customers more.

Opponents argued that the conditions made the pricing promise worthless, however. The group says that the pledge is full of loopholes and contains a provision for higher monthly bills in the future on the pretext network improvements. "Rather, our merger will ensure that American consumers will pay less and get more".

For the past four years, T-Mobile and Sprint have been trying to merge together.

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