Between Trump, Ajit Pai and a GOP Congress, there's never been a better time for a terrible Sprint/T-Mobile merger

Originally published at:


While I agree that it’s never good for consumers to see consolidation in markets, the fact of the matter is either T-Mobile or Sprint will be out of business at some point soon without a merger.

This dance between #3 and #4 wireless providers has been going on for more than a decade and the fact that Softbank has to prop up Sprint and DT is still pumping money into T-Mobile means that as individual entities, neither one of them can compete against AT&T and Verizon with their built-in incumbency advantages (ie: cheap early spectrum granted to them during the Baby Bell days).

T-Mobile has done a lot to shake up the US market by slashing at the traditional bandwidth pricing models and is forcing the others to follow suit. They were the first to recognize that data is more important than voice and are continually pushing the market away from artificial data caps.

This can only go on for so long and the time is ripe for them to strike a blow at Sprint. Yes, together they still lack the network scale of ATT and Verizon and there are technical incompatibilities between T-Mo and Sprint (CDMA vs GSM) but from their point of view, it is merge or die.

So, as a consumer, which would you rather see…3 wireless providers or 2?

As for job impacts, I am personally hoping for the best since my spouse has been employed at T-Mobile for 15+ years. A merger will certainly put her job at risk but so will bankruptcy. I can say that internally, there’s a fighting underdog spirit within T-Mobile culture that John Legere has introduced with his maverick style. Prior to his arrival, everyone had just been waiting for DT to pull the plug.



Trump, Ajit Pai and a GOP Congress



“And part of the reason Sprint and T-Mobile have struggled is AT&T and Verizon’s monopoly dominance of fiber-based cellular backhaul, something that won’t change just because of M&A mania.”

This smells like misdirection to me. T-Mobile’s biggest problem - BY FAR - is the lack of coverage in many areas. Spectrum is the only cure for that. Until that is solved, it doesn’t matter how much fiber-based cellular backhaul they add to the areas they already cover to the people they actually DON’T COVER. Way to miss the point.

Sprint doesn’t force T-Mo to compete on price. Sprint is competitive with T-Mo only in areas where T-Mo coverage is weak. Their biggest competitors are regional companies - that are generally MVNOs anyway.

Until T-Mo actually competes well on coverage, there is no incentive whatsoever for Verizon or AT&T to compete on price or features with T-Mo.

“It’s the Coverage, Stupid”


Sprint doesn’t compete with anybody on price because they actually somewhat resist being subsidized by the NSA. The others just open their datasets wide and hoover up that sweet, sweet government cash like there’s no tomorrow.

Well, you certainly have a bigger stake in Tmo than I do (15+ years employed vs. 15-plus years subscriber) but the thing about the merger is that T-Mo has the best customer service in the industry and Sprint has the worst. Regardless of intentions, that usually ends up with Gresham’s Law and SoftBank’s insistence on keeping their fingers in the pie aren’t encouraging me.

What the article is referring to is that at&t and verizon both own most of the backhaul traffic, which generates additional revenue… money which tmo and sprint are paying and dont get back. This forever locks tmo and sprint into a disadvantage that can’t be solved, even if the two were combined and tmo can enjoy sprints spectrum holdings.

It also looks like sprint will forfeit a lot of spectrum to the government, guess where that is going to end up going?

1 Like

I really hate this because Sprint is such a goddamn garbage fire of a company. When I stopped getting cellular service in my house they flat out lied to me about everything from what service was in my area to just impossible shit about what calling over wi-fi entailed. They also insisted that losing 4G service in order to be able to place calls in my house wasn’t a service downgrade. They are a bunch of lying crooks. So I switched to T-Mobile, coverage could be better, but it’s the first phone company I’ve ever dealt with that has had decent customer service. There is no way in hell that that merger is going to mean that Sprint inherits good customer service skills from T-Mobile.

I wish I could sprint away from this, but I don’t have a good thermos so I can’t keep my tea mobile.


Member Nextel, ah good times.

This will make the inevitable ATT> Sprint merger more efficient.

Pai, Trump, Congress, Sprint, and T-Mobile?

Talk about a Voltron of shit.

Long ago, I had Houston Cellular as my provider and I was happy. Then Sprint bought them out. A year later I switched to Verizon, and I’ve been with them ever since. It’s reassuring to know that Sprint is still shit.

(I mean, Verizon ain’t all that, but at least they aren’t Sprint.)

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.