Senate Democrats Press for Hearing on T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

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Several Democratic senators voiced concern today over impacts of T-Mobile’s $26 billion agreement to acquire rival wireless service provider Sprint, and requested a hearing on the merger. At the same time, rural wireless carriers expressed their opposition to the deal.

In a letter to chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and ranking member Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Tammy Baldwin D-Wis., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. expressed their concerns over the potential merger, and urged the committee to hold a hearing on whether the merger would have the benefits that the companies have claimed.

“This committee should evaluate T-Mobile and Sprint’s current 5G claims and the consequences this merger would have on American wireless network innovation,” the senators said.

They also questioned the potential competitive impact of the merger, as the deal would reduce the number of U.S. national wireless carriers from four to three.

Meanwhile, the 4Competition Coalition, a group of companies opposed to the merger, added five new members to its ranks on Thursday–wireless carriers Blue Wireless, Pine Belt Cellular, and Mobile Beacon, network management provider Telasoft, and the North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation.

“This transaction would do away with the low-cost provider of wholesale wireless service, which carriers like us rely on to provide a great, competitive consumer product,” said Brian Gelfand, CEO of Blue Wireless.

“As a company that helps make sure rural wireless carriers provide great service to their customers, it’s clear how the Sprint/T-Mobile merger would be detrimental to local mobile providers,” said Roger Schmitz, CEO of Telsasoft.

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