T-Mobile, Sprint promise temporary halt on price hikes after pending $26.5 billion merger

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T-Mobile and Sprint pledged not to raise prices on customers for three years after their pending $26.5 billion merger under review by the Trump administration, a promise that comes as the transaction faces additional congressional scrutiny and opponents intensify their efforts to sink the deal.

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T-Mobile and Sprint – the third and fourth largest U.S. carriers, respectively – have long argued that a merger is necessary to allow the firms to continue to compete against AT&T and Verizon. The two companies say their planned investments in faster fifth-generation wireless technology will lower prices for customers.

Now, ahead of a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives later this month, T-Mobile and Sprint are trying to double-down on that commitment.

“New T-Mobile will make available the same or better rate plans as those offered by T-Mobile or Sprint as of today’s date for three years following the merger,” the companies wrote in a recent federal filing.

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The pledge fell flat among some opponents, who argue the consolidation of two of the four largest telecommunications providers will raise costs because it reduces the incentive for competition.

“T-Mobile knows that its merger is in trouble,” the 4Competition Coalition, which includes Dish Network and the Rural Wireless Association as members, said in a statement. “The company’s pledge is riddled with loopholes and ensures that any network improvements will allow them to justify higher monthly bills, effectively rendering the pledge meaningless.”

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
TMUST-MOBILE US INC79.15-0.41-0.52%
SSPRINT CORP.6.84+0.01+0.07%
TAT&T INC.36.94-0.37-1.00%
VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC.59.57+0.07+0.12%

The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice continued to review the merger. Meanwhile, T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure are slated to appear in front of a joint hearing with the House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary panels on Feb. 13.

The companies hope to complete the deal in the first half of 2019.

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The merger comes as U.S. wireless providers battle to be the first to launch a nationwide, 5G network – which promises to provide speeds currently only available through a hardwire connection.

Sprint would struggle to launch the network on its own, Claure said previously. T-Mobile has also pledged to add as many as 5,600 jobs in the next three years as part of its investment into 5G.