US consumers would back a merger of T-Mobile US and Sprint if it drives down prices, creates economic growth and boosts rural wireless coverage, research by HarrisX revealed.

In a survey of 2,000 people aged 18 years and over conducted in the days after the merger was announced, some 59 per cent said they were unsure whether the deal should be approved.

However, consumers cited factors including service improvements, price cuts across the US, better customer service and job creation as factors which would make them “much more likely” to back the deal. Consumers were also keen for a merged company to make good on its pledge to invest $40 billion into its new network and help ensure the US leads the way in 5G by swiftly deploying a nationwide network.

Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX and a researcher in the poll, said the survey shows T-Mobile and Sprint “have a real opportunity” of convincing consumers of the merits of the merger, but cautioned the public is keen for more details of the deal, particularly around “the impact of new technologies like 5G.”

“And, above all, consumers want prices to stay low,” he added.

Indeed, consumers were “much less likely” to back the deal if it reduced choice (and so raised prices), impacted low-income families, decreased special offers, or prevented new entrants setting up shop.

PR campaign
The survey results come as T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint executive chairman Marcelo Claure continue a public relations blitz, seeking to woo consumers and regulators at the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington DC.

Politico reported the DoJ initiated its investigation the day after the deal announcement on 29 April, requesting information about phone numbering and number portability across operators.

In early May, Legere noted during an earnings call that early meetings with FCC Commissioners went “very well” and regulators exhibited a “willingness to listen” to the proposal with an open mind.