Public Knowledge Files Petition to Deny Proposed T-Mobile, Sprint Merger

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Today, Public Knowledge, joined by Common Cause, Consumers Union, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and Writers Guild of America West filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to deny the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.

If approved, the deal would reduce the number of national wireless carriers from four to three. Just as the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission concluded when the government rejected AT&T’s 2011 attempt to acquire T-Mobile, such a drastic reduction in competition is likely to harm competition and increase costs for consumers.

The following can be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The proposed combination of T-Mobile and Sprint is a clear-cut horizontal merger that will dramatically curtail competition in the wireless market and harm consumers. T-Mobile and Sprint have failed to demonstrate that their merger would serve the public interest. In fact, allowing the firms to merge would reduce the number of nationwide competitors in the wireless market from four to three, which could result in fewer choices and higher prices for consumers, and reduce incentives for the three remaining wireless providers to compete on price, network quality, customer service, and deployment.

“By nearly any measure, today’s wireless marketplace is already excessively consolidated. However, for the past several years, aggressive competition by T-Mobile and Sprint has provided numerous benefits to consumers, such as the reintroduction of unlimited data plans, lower prices, the elimination of two-year contracts, early upgrades, and free international data roaming. Without independent T-Mobile and Sprint challenging Verizon Wireless and AT&T, and each other, consumers are unlikely to continue to reap the benefits they have accrued from four-firm competition.

“T-Mobile and Sprint bear the burden of proving that their transaction serves the public interest. Based on the evidence, the Commission should conclude that reducing the number of nationwide wireless carriers from four to three harms competition and consumers, and does not serve the public interest.”

You may view the Petition to Deny.

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