Opponents of proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger detail public interest concerns

Telecommunications policy and legal experts from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Public Knowledge, Free Press, and the Rural Wireless Association, along with wireless telecommunications engineering expert Dr. Andrew Afflerbach, detailed their concerns about the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

Each of the organizations has previously filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the merger, and submitted additional comments to the FCC in response to T-Mobile and Sprint’s latest claims and assertions. Speakers on the call stated the following:

Phillip Berenbroick, Senior Policy Counsel, Public Knowledge, said, “The record compiled by the FCC clearly demonstrates that the proposed transaction will substantially reduce competition in the wireless market and harm consumers. Post-merger, the New T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon would control approximately 99% 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. The transaction would also dramatically raise the already high barriers for new market entry, and make it difficult for small rural providers and MVNOs to continue to serve their customers. The merger is anticompetitive and will does not serve the public interest. It should be rejected.”

Gaurav Laroia, Policy Counsel, Free Press, said, “This 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. The cellular market is already at a record high concentration, lessening competition overall and removing it almost entirely from the pre-paid market will leave the most vulnerable far worse off.”

Debbie Goldman, Research Director and Telecommunications Policy Director for the

Communications Workers of America (CWA), said, “The proposed merger would eliminate 30,000 jobs and raise prices for consumers, while still leaving rural communities without access to high-speed broadband. The harms of this merger are predictable and the benefits are speculative. Without substantial changes, the merger clearly fails the public interest test.”

Dr. Andrew Afflerbach, CEO and CTO of CTC Technology and Energy, said, “A technical review of the T-Mobile public interest statement finds that, for the majority of rural Americans, the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger does not improve service or coverage over standalone T-Mobile service.  The main element of synergy coming from Sprint will be its mid-band spectrum. However the majority of rural Americans will only be served by the same low-band spectrum that they would receive from standalone T-Mobile, absent the merger.”

Carri Bennet, General Counsel, Rural Wireless Association, said, “Eliminating a roaming competitor harms not only those living in rural America, but also those traveling in rural America. Sprint’s roaming rates are 20 times lower than those of T-Mobile. Eliminating Sprint will drive roaming rates up, making it impossible for many rural carriers to provide affordable service to their rural customers.”

FOR ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

Read the new FCC reply comments from the organizations on Wednesday’s call

o    CWA

o    Rural Wireless Association

o    Public Knowledge

o    Free Press

Check out the new www.TMobileSprintFacts.org website — a one-stop shop for facts and reasons why the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger, as currently structured, should be opposed.

Read earlier substantive comments submitted to the FCC from the organizations speaking on Wednesday’s call:

o    CWA

o    Rural Wireless Association

o    Free Press

o    Public Knowledge