AT&T To Be The Biggest Loser In Sprint/T-Mobile Merger: Study

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In short: AT&T is likely to be the biggest loser in a scenario wherein Sprint and T-Mobile's proposed merger is approved by federal regulators, according to a new study commissioned by wireless cell amplification company RepeaterStore. The same survey also found that the majority of American consumers are in favor of the consolidation, with Sprint customers being the most optimistic about the outcome of the tie-up.

Background: The new study is the second major piece of evidence suggesting Americans aren't concerned about the idea of having less competition in the wireless market; HarrisX reported similar findings in late May, suggesting only 20-percent of consumers in the United States are against the merger. The more recent survey suggests more than two-thirds of American adults believe the regulators should approve the consolidation, with T-Mobile customers being overwhelmingly in favor of the deal, as more than 74-percent of them wants to see it done. While Sprint subscribers are slightly less supportive, they largely believe they have the most to gain from the tie-up, with over 54-percent of them expecting their service quality to improve if T-Mobile absorbs their current wireless carrier of choice. Every fifth T-Mobile customer expects the consolidation to have an opposite effect and lower their service quality, though not enough to dissuade most of them from supporting it.

The impact: Around a third of AT&T subscribers said they'd be interested in switching to the new T-Mobile that absorbs Sprint, whereas every fourth Verizon customers said the same. While the DOJ won't take the public sentiment into account while judging the tie-up proposal on antitrust grounds, surveys like this one are likely to affect the decision-making process of the FCC, the first regulatory barrier Sprint and T-Mobile must overcome on their road to consolidation. Both telecom giants are still hoping their merger attempt will be approved by Washington in the first half of 2019.

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