Listen: T-Mobile says Sprint merger will boost 5G speeds by up to 6 times
"Pending merger of sprint and T mobile that subcommittees chaired by Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania. Before we get started. I want to express my condolences to congresswoman Debbie Dingle on the loss of her husband. John John was a dear friend and mentor to me and many members of this committee is passion for oversight accountability legislative process in his lifetime of public services. An example to all of us his passing is great loss door nation, the congress and this committee, which he loved so much John may you rest in peace. Jerrell now recognize himself for five minutes. Welcome to the subcommittee on communication and technologies hearing on protecting consumers and competition and examination of the T mobile sprint merger. This hearing is noteworthy because the last time a merger hearing was had before the subcommittee was almost nine years ago. And in that time there have been numerous mergers within the subcommittee's jurisdiction that have gone without a hearing. I believe it's the duty of this subcommittee to allow our members to publicly discussing debate the merits of these transactions and the question the relevant. Stakeholders the merchant before us today is between two of our country's national wireless providers T mobile and sprint these companies have acted as disrupters competitors and low cost options in the wireless. Marketplace. T Mobile's ankerium strategy has ended anti consumer practices such as data caps restrictive. Concrete contracts and much more. They have also worked hard to build a robust national network that by some accounts is the fastest in the nation. For its part sprint has been a leader. And roaming agreements for rural providers and wholesale access for prepaid and lifeline providers. Sprint has worked. Hard to bring its networks that within one percent of rises in terms of network reliability. Or so their commercial say-so consumers have also benefited from sprint positioning itself. As the best value. They are offering a plan right now where new customers can get a year of free service when they switched from another carrier, which sounds amazing. However, this hearing isn't about the benefits that both of your companies have brought to the market. It's about the extrordinary impact that you're combined company could have on the public and the marketplace if this merger goes through we will hear today from the Communication Workers of America from the world wireless association and public knowledge they claim that this merger will have. Negative impacts on low. Income consumers rural providers and jobs in the wireless industry. CWA's testimony suggests that this merger will result in up to thirty thousand job losses in the industry and a reduction in industry pay by as much as three thousand dollars for employee the rural broadbands associations testimony argues that rule consumers will pay more. They claim that sprint charges twenty times less than T mobile or other national carriers for roaming agreements, these agreements allow customers of rural carriers who build their own networks in the most rural communities they use their phones throughout the country. What guarantees rural providers have that they won't face increased cost if t mobile doesn't adopt sprints practices and public knowledge is testimony states that consumer prices will go up due to the reduction in the number of national carriers from four to three they argue that the merger. Would hit low income consumers the hardest because the number of carriers offering wholesale access would drop from three to sprint AT, and T and T mobile so access to their networks to prepaid and lifeline providers who then sell that service under their own brands what remedy to these carriers or their customers. Have if the not mobile decides it wants to get out of the wholesale business or drastically raise rates to that end the FCC found in their communications. Marketplace report that the wireless market concentration was currently at thirty one hundred h h h h I'm measures how competitive market is with a higher number. Meaning it's less competitive. The Justice Department's horizontal merger guidelines state that a market with an h H I above twenty five hundred is highly concentrated, so we really aren't starting from a great spot an increase of. Two hundred points would raise significant concerns about competition. This merger is expected to result in a market power increase of two hundred eighty points for the post played market and two thousand fourteen points for the prepaid market that would take the prepaid market from where it is right now at twenty four sixty seven which is just under the OJ's threshold to forty four eighty one a level that raises lots of red flags these kinds of numbers have historically resulted in higher prices for consumers less competition unless innovation I appreciate both executive statement that they believe that this merger will benefit consumers and result in lower prices and their commitments to an accelerated deployment of five G and the promises of expanded rural broadband, these are national objectives that are important to me and many members of this committee. However, I've seen a lot of mergers in this. Industry and others. And it's hard to think a one where consolidation didn't result in people losing their jobs prices going up and innovation being slightly. I look forward to hearing from the testimony from our two telephone companies that wish to merge in from the other panelists and with that. I yield to the ranking Member Mr ladder for five minutes favors chairman if I could just take a point of personal privilege also to express, my deepest sympathies to our friend and colleague, Debbie Dingle on the loss of chairman Dingell. And the chairman love this committee in this room is named after and I had the privilege of getting to know him in my days now. On this committee grind, I got congress. Again, he loved this committee. He loved this house. But most of all he loves his district state of Michigan in all that he did fourth. So with that. I wish the Bengals my my deepest sympathies on the loss of chairman. And again, this Sharon, thank you very much for convening. Our panel of us today into our witnesses. Thanks for much for being we appreciate your time. I look forward to hearing your expertise in different perspectives"