We are nearing the end of the marathon that we call the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. It all comes down to the decision that will be made by U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero who is presiding over the non-jury trial initiated by attorneys general of 13 states and Washington D.C. The plaintiffs are seeking to block the $26.5 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint on anti-competitive grounds. The states are concerned that the merger, by reducing the number of major U.S. wireless operators to three from four, will end up forcing Americans to dig a little deeper into their pockets each month to pay their phone bill. And they believe that the transaction, if approved, will make it rain pink slips as jobs get cut.
We've discussed several times why the plaintiffs might be wrong. Not allowing the merger to close could leave Sprint in its current weakened state; the carrier's former CEO Marcelo Claure says that without the deal, Sprint will have to raise prices and borrow more money to operate
. And if the deal is approved, Sprint and Dish Network will complete a transaction that will turn the satellite television provider into a competitive wireless operator designed to replace Sprint. In addition, as part of its package of concessions made to placate the FCC and the Justice Department, T-Mobile promised not to raise prices for three years after the merger closes.
Guest writers of opinion column say that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will create new jobs nationwide
As for potential loss of jobs, a union leader helped co-write an op-ed in today's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, part of the USA Today network, that disagrees with that assessment. The newspaper serves the city of Rochester, located in upstate New York; the column, "NYS Attorney General should change course on merger of T-Mobile, Sprint," was penned by two guest writers Bob Duffy and Tony DiPerna. The former is the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and served as the New York Lieutenant Governor from 2011 to 2014. The latter is President of the Rochester Building & Construction Trades Council and the President of the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers #3.
As Duffy and DiPerna note, "Lost in this lawsuit is whether workers—especially New York workers—will come out ahead. It's an issue that's been totally overlooked and that’s too bad. We've spent our careers working to bring good jobs to this region, and we believe any merger must contribute to economic growth and job creation here. The T-Mobile-Sprint deal passes this test with flying colors. That's why we fully support it." You might recall that when the merger was first announced, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) said that the transaction would lead to the loss of 28,000 jobs
T-Mobile seeks to enhance its nationwide 5G network by obtaining Sprint's 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum
Of course, no discussion of the merger should be made without discussing 5G. This is the next generation of wireless connectivity and will deliver data speeds 10 times faster than 4G LTE. As a result, 5G will lead to the creation of new technologies and industries and could set off a global economic boom. T-Mobile wants to buy Sprint to take control of the latter's 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum. Combined with T-Mobile's low-band 600MHz airwaves, the combination will give the merged outfit three times the 5G capacity than standalone T-Mobile and Sprint according to T-Mobile CEO John Legere. It also will allow the wireless operator to provide 5G coverage to rural Americans. The executive has statred that if the deal isn't approved, his company will, in some markets, "exhaust capacity in the next two to four years."
The merger will indeed help enhance T-Mobile's current nationwide 5G network. As Duffy and DiPerna note, this will help create more jobs for the country. "And because New T-Mobile will invest nearly $40 billion in deploying a new nationwide 5G network and services, the merger is expected to create thousands of jobs more than the two stand-alone companies could have done. That's good for labor, good for employment, and good for consumers," they write. And the pair end their column by stating, "In short, this merger is good for workers and families. Let's hope the Attorney General’s office changes course so New T-Mobile can deliver on its commitments to New Yorkers."
We could know within weeks whether the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint will finally be allowed to close.