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Home>UPDATE: How a T-Mobile-Sprint merger would hurt consumers

UPDATE: How a T-Mobile-Sprint merger would hurt consumers

UPDATE: How a T-Mobile-Sprint merger would hurt consumers


By Jacob Passy

It isn't just T-Mobile and Sprint customers who would feel the effects of such a deal

While a deal between Sprint Corp. (S) and T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) could be beneficial for the companies' bottom lines, experts say it would likely be a bum deal for consumers.

There was yet more speculation (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sprint-shares-gain-8-on-renewed-speculation-of-merger-talk-with-t-mobile-2017-09-19) Tuesday suggesting that the mobile companies are in talks to merge after Bloomberg originally reported "informal contact (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sprint-and-t-mobile-in-preliminary-talks-to-merge-report-2017-05-12)" between the two companies last May. Before that, discussions were on hold until late April due to the government's spectrum auction (where the government sells the rights for companies to transmit signals over certain bands of the electromagnetic spectrum).

But a merger between the two companies wouldn't just result in changes for their customers. It would likely usher in industrywide changes that would affect consumers of various carriers across the country, telecom analysts say. "It would be devastating for consumers in the long run," said Chris Mills, news editor at BGR, a news website focused on mobile technology and consumer electronics. (Sprint and T-Mobile didn't respond to request for comment.)

Here are some of the major ways that wireless customers could be affected:

A merger would likely eliminate Sprint's low-cost alternative

T-Mobile and Sprint were both in dire straits not too long ago, but have managed to make comebacks based on lower pricing and more attractive offers to potential customers, said Jeff Kagan, an industry analyst. In particular, Sprint has positioned itself as the lowest-cost carrier among the top 4 carriers (which also include Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) .)

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