Op-Ed: Consumers Will Benefit From T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

The Fly’s Feb. 20 column “Eshoo Flip-Flops on Big Telecom Mergers” implies that because I opposed AT&T’s bid to acquire T-Mobile in 2011, I have flipped my position on big telecommunication mergers.

Yes, I support the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, and here is why.

Today we have four wireless companies. Some say four is better than three. We actually have a duopoly, AT&T and Verizon. They control approximately two-thirds of the market and have for the last 15 years.

Americans pay some of the highest prices for mobile wireless service in the developed world, they have fewer choices when it comes to providers, and the quality of service, particularly in rural America, leaves much to be desired.

We can’t measure competition in this market simply by the total number of carriers. We have to look at what these carriers are capable of providing to their customers. T-Mobile has a strong track record as an aggressive competitor. The company has helped lower prices, eliminated contracts, and promoted pro-consumer policies.

Sprint has also competed for market share in recent years, but the company is carrying $40 billion in debt. They can’t make the necessary investments to build out their network and compete with the top two carriers, and many believe they are heading toward bankruptcy. What Sprint does have is spectrum.

Merging pro-consumer T-Mobile with Sprint’s spectrum holdings will create a new company with eight times the network capacity and the ability to aggressively compete for new customers by offering competitive prices for better service, and expand into underserved and unserved regions of America.

Consumers will be the ones who benefit from this competition.

During my service in Congress, I’ve opposed many mergers. I take a back seat to no one on my pro-consumer record and my efforts regarding competition. I evaluate every policy before me through the lens of competition and consumers. I support this merger because we have a rigid market dominated for decades by the same two carriers and this must change. Turning the wireless market on its head is the only flip I’m concerned with.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) has served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee since 1995. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

8 Comments

  1. Anne Eshoo, Free market capitalist. Next thing you know AOC will be flying privet jets and rat holing money!

  2. Well-said, and exactly what I was thinking when I heard she was supportive of the merger. Her reasoning is sound. This combination will actually enhance competition with AT&T and Verizon.

  3. T-Mobile doesn’t allow fixed rate plan ($40 / month) users to have SPAM call blocking and other enhanced services. Even at an extra cost. AFAIK, the merger won’t benefit seniors and others on tight budgets without subscribing to plans that cost about $55-$60 / month. Many of us don’t want free unlimited minutes, free calling to Mexico and Canada, etc. We just want affordable basic phone service free of SPAM.

    • > T-Mobile doesn’t allow fixed rate plan ($40 / month) users to have SPAM call blocking.

      It’s news to me that any wireless carrier has SPAM call blocking.

      The technical wise guys have always told me that such a thing was impossible. If the carriers try to make it fool proof, the SPAM guys will just invent better fools.

      The fools seem to be winning. The phone companies can’t seem to tell anymore where a call originates.

  4. Meanwhile, seven Democratic senators (four of whom have announced their candidacies for president in 2020) and independent senator Bernie Sanders have jointly sent letters to the FCC and the Justice Department, that also has jurisdiction in merger cases, urging them to reject the proposed merger. In their letter, the Senators argue that the merger would be a “sharp blow to competition in the telecommunications industry” and would “eliminate competition that has been shown to benefit consumers and stifle the emergence of new carriers” (see https://thehill.com/policy/technology/429618-dem-senators-urge-fcc-justice-department-to-reject-t-mobile-sprint-merger and https://thehill.com/policy/technology/428619-t-mobile-sprint-step-up-merger-push). Eshoo’s position in this can be best explained by the $572,000 plus in career contributions from the telecommunications corporations. (This parallels her even more fervant work in protecting the pricing power of drug companies who have made her the fourth biggest career recipient of drug company contributions after Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Orin Hatch. See https://www.sanjoseinside.com/2019/01/10/op-ed-rep-anna-eshoo-needs-to-answer-for-ties-to-big-pharma/)

  5. One of The most Naive article’s written on the merger todate as founder of Boost mobile this lack of understanding of the real impact this merger will have is frankly astonishing.
    This is word for word from the T mobile hype machine, almost word for word and one must think why would you write this,is there a hidden agenda, let’s do a live debate Rep eshoo I am ready willing and able anytime if you are so convinced this debate you should welcome. My email address is [email protected] have you’re people contact me, got a feeling I wont hear from you.

  6. If the problem is Sprint having too much spectrum and not enough cash, then why not just sell the spectrum to T-mobile and avoid merging the top two nation-wide providers of low-cost, pre-paid phone plans. This entire piece is disingenuous pro-monopoly trash.

  7. So much did it cost for Palo Altan Anna Eschoo to sellout and “flip” her opinion? How much money is she making from the deal? What a pity! It is truly disgraceful that she would even write an article to try and convince those of us with moral fiber that selling out for profit is the right thing to do.

Leave a Reply