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Reply of Public Knowledge, Consumer Reports, et al to FCC in opposition to T-Mobile – Sprint merger

SUMMARY: The record compiled by the Federal Communications Commission clearly demonstrates that the proposed transaction will substantially reduce competition in the wireless market and harm consumers. Post-merger, New T-Mobile, along with AT&T and Verizon would dominate the wireless market. The transaction would leave customers facing the types of harms the FCC and Department of Justice identified in their review and ultimate rejection of the AT&T-TMobile transaction in 2011 – a market with higher prices, reduced variety in products and services, lower innovation, poorer quality of service, and reduced incentives to invest and compete.

The proposed transaction will also raise the already high barriers to new market entry in the wireless market, making it more difficult for MVNOs and rural providers to grow and serve their customers. The tools the FCC and DOJ use to analyze the likely effects of transactions all indicate that this merger is highly anti-competitive and will harm consumers. Further, the public interest benefits alleged by the merging firms are either speculative or not merger-specific and should not be given credence. As structured, the T-Mobile-Sprint combination is unlawful under the antitrust laws, does not serve the public interest, and should be rejected.