House committees to grill CEOs Legere, Claure on T-Mobile-Sprint merger February 13th

House committees to grill CEOs Legere, Claure on T-Mobile-Sprint merger February 13th
Announced last April, the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint awaits final approval from the FCC. Of course, the agency was recently part of the government that was shut down for 35 days. It still is unclear how the FCC will act, but T-Mobile expects to be able to close the transaction in the first half of this year.

The merger has already received approval from U.S. security agencies such as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department. To get this approval, T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom had to agree to stop using Huawei networking equipment. Sprint parent SoftBank agreed to replace 4G gear made by Huawei with equipment made by Nokia and Ericsson.

Back in June, the U.S. Senate held a hearing on the $26 billion deal, and according to a press release dated today, on February 13th the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee will hold a joint hearing. Attending will be the CEOs of both firms, T-Mobile's John Legere and Sprint's Marcelo Claure. The committees released a statement in which they said that the hearing would "examine the merger’s potential impacts on consumers, workers and the wireless industry."

This will be the first time that the the Energy and Commerce Committee will be involved in a merger hearing in eight years. With the Democrats controlling the House, the announcement of the hearing was made by Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-RI).

We should see Legere and Claure grilled on how the merger will impact low income subscribers and employees of the two wireless providers. Back in October, Legere told T-Mobile workers that the deal will add 3,000 jobs immediately, rising to 11,000 by 2024. However, the Communication Workers of America told the FCC that 28,000 jobs will be lost if the merger is approved, mostly from the closing of T-Mobile and Sprint stores that are too close to each other.


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