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.
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.”
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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.
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.