T-Mobile, Sprint price promise blasted - Mobile World Live

T-Mobile, Sprint price promise blasted

05 FEB 2019

Critics argued a pledge by T-Mobile US and Sprint not to raise tariffs for three years following their proposed merger is riddled with loopholes which will allow the companies to increase prices anyway.

In a new filing with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the operators sought to quell opponents’ accusations the deal will increase consumer costs, stating: “New T-Mobile will make available the same or better rate plans as those offered by T-Mobile or Sprint as of today’s date [4 February] for three years following the merger.”

The pair added they would not object to the commitment being included as a formal condition for regulatory approval of their merger.

T-Mobile and Sprint said the statement was intended to simplify the FCC’s review of the deal and “remove any doubts, concerns or ambiguity” about their post-merger plans.

But the 4Competition Coalition, a group of companies and consumer groups opposed to the deal, argued in a statement the pledge is an “empty promise that does not provide any real price protection for consumers”.

The group, which counts Dish Network; C Spire; the Rural Wireless Association; and the Communications Workers of America union among its members, added the offer comprised “precisely the kind of behavioural conditions that regulators have found insufficient in merger reviews.”

Fine print
Notably, T-Mobile and Sprint’s commitment does not cover handset and other device costs, which can contribute significantly to monthly bills when users are on equipment instalment plans.

There is also a provision which notes legacy prices may be changed to pass along cost increases from taxes, fees and surcharges, and service charges from third-party partners.

Additionally, some third-party benefits may be modified or scrapped altogether based on changes to agreements with those vendors, though T-Mobile and Sprint said such changes are outwith their control.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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