WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on T-Mobile-Sprint merger hearing (all times local):
Democratic lawmakers are challenging a pledge by T-Mobile and Sprint not to raise prices or hurt competition if their .5 billion merger goes through.
The deal would combine the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless companies and create a behemoth roughly the size of industry giants Verizon and AT&T. The House Energy and Commerce Committee doesn’t have authority to rule on the merger, but members are able to use the forum to ask pointed questions.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, wonders, “How can we be sure that consumers who can least afford to pay more are not harmed by the merger?”
T-Mobile says it won’t raise prices for three years, but Pallone says he’s not sure that Trump administration regulators are willing to hold T-Mobile to that promise.
Top executives of T-Mobile and Sprint are taking the case for their 26.5 billion merger to Congress, arguing that joining their companies won’t hurt competition or jack up prices for wireless service.
They could face skepticism at a hearing Wednesday. The deal, which must win approval from federal regulators, would combine the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless companies, creating a new behemoth roughly the size of industry giants Verizon and AT&T.
Obama administration regulators blocked a similar merger earlier this decade when AT&T attempted to purchase T-Mobile, concluding that it would inhibit competition.
T-Mobile and Sprint say American consumers would get more and pay less as a result of the merger and argue that the combination would allow them to better compete as wireless, broadband and video industries converge.