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U.S. DoJ to Get the Opinion of MVNOs Regarding Sprint-T-Mobile Merger

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is currently probing how the T-Mobile and Sprint merger could affect the smaller wireless operators that frequently purchase network access from the networks of major carriers. The interrogation is part of the government agency's antitrust examination, which asks their opinion on the merger.

The report comes from Reuters, who earned a confirmation from Ultra Mobile and Mint Mobile CEO David Glickman. According to the CEO, the DoJ asked to speak with him about the merger. No further information was given to him.

Boost Mobile's founder and former CEO Peter Adderton was "encouraged" to learn that the opinions of smaller operators are not being taken for granted and ignored. Adderton previously said that if this merger is approved, both "Boost Mobile and MetroPCS (T-Mobile) unit should be spun off before the merger is finalized." 

Otherwise, this could give the new T-Mobile extreme dominance or monopoly in the category. When this happens, it could increase prices, create onerous terms and conditions, and also lower service quality. Since there have been concerns on how this merger could create problems for smaller operators and their customers, it is something that the DoJ needs to go into very carefully.

The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint still requires regulatory approval before it can take place. With the DoJ getting the opinions of smaller operators, it could make things a lot clearer and also turn this into a Win-Win situation for either parties. And considering there are several small wireless providers that use the networks of T-Mobile and Sprint for service, their opinions should matter.



Source: TmoNews

23 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Glad to see that the DOJ is getting as much input as possible. Of course, since I'm an MVNO subscriber getting the best of both worlds (my Twigby service runs on Sprint but roams on Verizon for no extra charge), I'm hoping that the MVNOs make a strong case for maintaining their respective franchises as they are now.

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  2. If MVNOs sabotage the merger, Tmo and Sprint should go full drunk parents and belt-whip access prices sky high.

    Someone's gotta pay for 5G, and it might as well be the spiteful, bratty ingrates who gave Papa Tmo guff when he was just trying to make ends meet and do right by both families by wifing up Mama Sprint.

    Maybe they think 5G is free, or that customers won't abandon Tmo and Sprint for failing to "keep up with the Bells."

    Well, those operators and dealers seem to be in desperate need of a humble reality check, and hopefully the adults in the room will set 'em all straight.

    Personally, I don't see the point of being selfish and bratty to the point of alienating customers (both current and potential) who just want better speeds and coverage.

    But if these numbskulls wanna throw a tantrum in public and make everyone around cringe, well I just hope they've braced themselves for the ass-whoopin' they so rightfully deserve.

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    1. I could be wrong, but I don't think MNOs are allowed to be overly exorbitant with their leasing rates. Dennis do you know if there are any laws/regulations prohibiting it?

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    2. geez, someone really really really wants his 5G. badly.

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    3. "I could be wrong, but I don't think MNOs are allowed to be overly exorbitant with their leasing rates. Dennis do you know if there are any laws/regulations prohibiting it?" The wholesale rates MNOs charge MVNOs are not limited by any law or regulation, that I'm aware of.

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    4. What sort of mvno would have any power to sabotage anything? I can't imagine any of them at all. Except for the Carlos Slim TracFone related companies. They are a titan unto themselves.

      But what power do these penny-ante fly-by-nights like Selectel and Rok and Republic Wireless have? I can't imagine any at all. Though they might get publicity from filing a frivolous lawsuit. That could be worth gold. Because no one has ever heard of these companies anyway. And then their number of customers could go from 500 each to 1,500 each.

      I'm waiting then for someone also to chime in and say that Boost Mobile is a huge mvno, and they could sabotage deals that Sprint would make. And then I will stifle my mouth as I laugh.

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    5. I am willing to pay well if ATT connects fiber to my house. I am not willing to pay ATT more for 5G fixed or mobile that works at home. That is my bottom line. Given the above, why would I be willing to pay more for New T-Mobile's 5G. I am happy with T-Mobile's Simple Choice North America plan. I have not accepted any of the price increases fromm T-Mobile since getting the above.

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    6. Technically aren't Boost and Metro both wholly owned by Sprint and T-Mobile respectively?! What does the government want here; that they become their own company or that they become even their network? How can the gov mandate such? Where would they get their towers?
      Also technically both Sprint & T-Mobile have their own branded prepaid plans. Granted T-Mobile hides theirs as best they can.

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    7. Since the passage of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, one if the duties of the Department of Justice is to investigate mergers and acquisitions to determine if they would harm competition.

      Based on its investigation the DoJ can approve the merger, block it or set conditions such as selling off parts of the merged companies to preserve completion.

      As part of its investigation the DoJ is asking MVNO owners if they think their businesses will be affected by the merger. It will probably be a year before the DOJ makes a decision on the merger.

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    8. @Jam, there's precedent for breaking up of bigger telecom entities into smaller ones. At the end of 1983, Ma Bell (the US and Canada-wide phone conglomerate) was broken up into smaller entities like AT&T, SBC, etc.

      Re: towers, given the massive undertaking it would be, I doubt the government creates new MNOs; IMO they would probably mandate whatever is spun off gets to keep using Sprint/T-Mobile towers in an MVNO-type of a situation. The question is what the leasing terms (including lease rates) will be.

      If something's spun off, I doubt T-Mobile/Sprint make it a completely fair divestiture by sending some of their best engineering, marketing, etc. resources to these companies but I digress.

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  3. nice graphic...

    Here is one with magenta and yellow for Sprint and TMO....

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  4. Why should T-Sprint divest its prepaid divisions while AT&T and Verizon get to keep theirs? I don't see how protecting the Big Two improves competition in the sector.

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    1. I get what you're saying (bust the bigger conglomerates,) but it's Sprint and T-Mobile that are looking to merge, not AT&T and Verizon, who'd make the "what did we do wrong here" and then reverse course and come out against the merger, if it helps them maintain their status quo. That could make things very difficult for TM/S, given the lobbying power of ATT/VZW.

      Plus, the government has leverage over T-Mobile/Sprint right now, so anything like this they do, as meaningless as it might be, they'd have better chances of getting cooperation from TM/S.

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  5. It is in the opinion of mine that T-Mobile and Sprint are both horrible. Tmobile is so tricky they had me on a Prepaid data plan and I stoped paying now im in collections

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  6. The T-Mobile experience is horrible for most Americans, based on the network. But they are getting better. Definitely getting better.

    And I don't think T-Mobile is objectively any better or any worse than any other major carrier for having such pernicious account problems.

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    1. "The T-Mobile experience is horrible for most Americans, based on the network."

      I would love to see a source for this. As of 2015, they covered 300 million Americans.

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    2. Meaningless, the statistic you quote is based on Americans staying put in their houses. Mobile means mobile.


      What network covers the most places where these 300 million Americans go once they leave their houses??

      Answer, it's not T-Mobile. Not yet.

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    3. "I would love to see a source for this. As of 2015, they covered 300 million Americans"

      ALL networks cover all 350 million Americans. Where they differ is how much they cover the places where Americans need to use their phones.

      There is still a big difference between Verizon and AT&T, and T-Mobile which covers much less of this area where these 350 Americans need to use their phones.

      Coverage is King. Coverage is also Queen and Jack and Prince and Duke and Grand Vitara. Because if you can't get a signal, such things as throttling and data speed don't matter at all.

      Carriers advertise such nonsense as "covering 300 million Americans" in their houses pretty much when they are behind on the basics.

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    4. @Anon504: sure, Verizon indisputably has more PoPs than T-Mobile, but for how many of those 350 million Americans does the "T-Mobile experience" include occupying areas covered by those extra Verizon PoPs at all, it not consistently? Surely not 175 million+1 Americans...

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  7. T-Mobile and Sprint merger for dummies article - easy to understand summary from the FCC filing. Covers pros and cons for people with an open mind. Everyone else can skip it.

    https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/t-mobile-and-sprint-just-told-the-fcc-they-cant-keep-competing-separately

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    1. The Fox Business article you linked to is not a pro vs con analysis, nor is it intended to be. It's a news item summarizing T-Mobile and Sprint's own statement to the FCC outlining the advantages of the merger. As such, it is all pro, no con. The article says nothing about the concerns of consumer advocates that the merger will reduce competition and raise prices.

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    2. "AT&T and Verizon will have a strong competitor on their hands if T-Mobile and Sprint succeed in their merger. That said, they'll also have one less competitor, and one that's less aggressive in its efforts to scale its customer base, so that could still be a benefit for the two larger competitors."

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  8. DoJ and Congress seem to have blinders on, as if America Movil is not a competitor. They are a big MVNO competitor, and can shift business from one major carrier to another. They were friendly with AT&T when they owned 23% of Am Movil stock. When the two companies started competing in Mexico and the stock was sold, Am Movil made it hard to get AT&T SIMs, and started moving most business to the other major carriers. Also, cable companies are expected to grab up to half of new mobile phone subscribers over the next two years. People seem to think this is not real competition since the business rides on a major carrier, but I don't agree. Cable co. plans are priced so low that they will get lots of business regardless of the merger results. A strong Tmo-Sprint could certainly go after more business from cable companies and operators like Dish - they would have the financial resources to win.
    I just hope DoJ can learn how to count past 3 before they make their decision.

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