Here's how the T-Mobile, Sprint merger could affect customers

After years of negotiations, an antitrust investigation by the Justice Department and an antitrust lawsuit filed by several states and Washington, D.C., the T-Mobile-Sprint merger was approved Friday by the Justice Department.

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The $26 billion deal brings the two companies significantly closer to AT&T and Verizon -- the two largest carriers in the nation -- but critics are worried the merger could negatively impact consumers by reducing competition and raising prices.

Though the companies have promised not to raise prices for three years, there are plenty of other concerns for how the merger would impact consumers.

Some critics argue that with only three national carriers, the companies won’t be motivated to compete as actively, Fortune reported. According to MarketWatch, Sprint’s low-cost option -- the lowest among all four national carriers -- could also be nixed with the merger.

The outlet also reported that unlimited plans could disappear because they were introduced as a way to bring in new customers.

Sprint customers might even have to get new phones, since T-Mobile will be in control, according to Fortune.

However, customers of both networks are also likely to have faster and more reliable connections if they merge, particularly if they’re able to continue to expand their 5G network like they claim they will, the outlet reported.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SSPRINT CORP.9.30-0.25-2.62%
TMUST-MOBILE US INC91.24-2.41-2.57%
TAT&T INC.35.73-1.37-3.69%

The companies have promised to work on developing and improving service in rural areas -- a focus that drew praise from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in May and led to his endorsement of the deal.

The merger is also likely to affect network deals such as the free Netflix account that comes with a T-Mobile plan and the free Hulu account that comes with a Sprint plan. However, neither network has announced how exactly those deals will be affected, Fortune reported.

If prices to end up being raised after three years, customers could move to smaller carriers -- which could also be affected by the merger, MarketWatch reported. Prices could go up for customers of smaller carriers, but those customers could also get better coverage, according to the website.


FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino and Lydia Moynihan contributed to this report.