T-Mobile and Sprint are preparing an official merger filing with the United States Federal Communications Commission, Reuters reports, citing an unidentified document. The third- and fourth-largest mobile service provider in the country will officially request a consolidation approval from the agency on Monday, with their filing being said to be relatively straightforward in nature, requesting traditional discretion on the FCC's part in regards to the manner in which the regulator will handle their sensitive corporate information. A U.S. Senate panel will be holding its first hearing on the proposed tie-up on June 27, with most industry watchers and analysts agreeing the two telecom giants have a rough road toward approval ahead of them.
While T-Mobile and Sprint claim their combined operations would lead to more jobs and competition in the wireless segment, the deal they want to see done would reduce the number of national wireless carriers from four to three, with some advocacy groups and industry veterans also describing it as "devastating" to the market as a whole; NWIDA President Adam Wolf and Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton previously argued the merger would completely monopolize the prepaid segment, resulting in increased prices and reduced service quality, thus hitting America's poorest customers the hardest.
The consolidation proposal launched earlier this spring has been presented in the form of an all-stock deal valued at $26.5 billion which would leave T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom with a controlling stake in the merged entity. The two network operators also argued that combining their forces is the only way for them to remain relevant in the emerging 5G segment and push the nation's largest two carriers — AT&T and Verizon — to deliver even better next-generation services, thus ensuring long-term competitiveness in the industry. While not everyone is convinced by those arguments, some analysts believe a tie-up wouldn't necessarily raise prices, especially not those attached to a gigabyte of wireless data.