Yesterday, Common Cause joined Consumer’s Union, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and Writer’s Guild of America West, Inc. in filing a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to deny the proposed $26 billion merger of T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corporation. If approved, the number of national wireless carriers would be reduced from four to three, leading to less competition and higher prices for consumers. Low-income and marginalized communities who disproportionately rely on T-Mobile and Sprint for more affordable services may also find themselves displaced from wireless access.
Statement of Michael Copps, Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Advisor
This is a bad deal that has significant consequences for consumers and competition. The wireless industry is already highly concentrated and will only get worse if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge. T-Mobile has been a disruptive force in the marketplace offering innovative products and affordable services in an effort to compete with the other three wireless carriers. But New T-Mobile’s innovation and affordable offerings will disappear post-merger when it faces less competition. Consumers can expect to see higher prices and fewer choices across the board. Even worse, T-Mobile and Sprint are direct competitors with each other in several markets, particularly the prepaid market, which primarily serve low-income consumers and other marginalized communities. Eliminating two direct competitors would give T-Mobile all the power and incentive to raise prices for prepaid service with no other major challengers in the market. This would displace millions of low-income Americans who have no alternative options for wireless service.
Our democracy depends on all Americans having access to robust and affordable broadband services in order to fully participate in a 21st century society. There are no benefits to the public interest in a marketplace where Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are allowed to call all of the shots that will only widen the digital divide. Given the significant harms, the FCC should block the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.
To read the petition to deny, click here.