T-Mobile and Sprint told the Federal Communications Commission they plan to “compete aggressively” against rivals Verizon and AT&T following the completion of their proposed merger.
The carriers filed a Public Interest Statement with the commission on Monday, which officially sought approval from the FCC for the $26.5 billion agreement to merge the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless operators.
Company executives first announced the merger in April and argued only a combined company could support a nationwide 5G buildout that would create jobs and force its rivals to make similar investments — part of an initial overture to regulators concerned about the deal’s impact on consumers.
This week, the carriers emphasized the potential impact of their new investment on wireless customers nationwide. T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who would lead a combined company, said they plan to commit $40 billion to 5G technologies in their first three years — “the years that will determine if American companies and talent lead or follow in the 5G era.”
“That amount represents more than either T-Mobile or Sprint had planned to invest on their own,” Legere wrote in a blog post. “Don’t think for a second that Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Charter or others will stand still.”
As a result, T-Mobile and Sprint officials predicted that the nation’s supply of mobile data would more than double as the price per gigabit of data declines by as much as 55 percent.
The statement also said new advancements would effectively eliminate the speed and capacity disparity between mobile and wired broadband, and suggested the merger would offer benefits in the enterprise and video segments and to underserved, rural areas.
“To date, T-Mobile and Sprint, individually, have not been able to materially erode Verizon and AT&T’s wireless market share or overcome their scale advantages,” officials wrote in the FCC filing. “New T-Mobile, however, will be able to go toe-to-toe with the two larger rivals to the benefit of competition and consumers.”
The interest group representing T-Mobile, Sprint and many smaller and regional carriers, meanwhile, said it continues to review the proposed merger.
Competitive Carriers Association Steven Berry, in a statement, praised T-Mobile’s commitment to partnering with smaller carriers on 5G deployments and said it the group focused on “reasonable roaming agreements, access to spectrum, handset and device availability, and other infrastructure, backhaul and USF considerations.”