• FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger



    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - T-Mobile US Incís (TMUS.O) proposed $26.5 billion tie-up with Sprint Corp (S.N) won formal approval from the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday in a vote split along party lines, two sources told Reuters.

    Chairman Ajit Pai and two Republican commissioners voted to approve the deal while two Democratic commissioners voted against it, the sources said.

    The text of the approval order is not expected to be released until later in the month.

    The deal to combine the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers, which has been fighting for government approval since April 2018, still faces a lawsuit brought by a group of state attorneys general, headed by New York.

    The lawsuit against Sprint and its parent company Softbank Group Corp and T-Mobile and its parent Deutsche Telekom AG argues the deal will lead to higher prices for consumers. A trial date has been set for Dec. 9.

    The U.S. Justice Department approved the deal in July.

    Under the Justice Department deal, the companies would divest Sprintís prepaid businesses, including Boost Mobile, to satellite television company Dish Network Corp (DISH.O), and provide it with access to 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations. That deal is worth about $5 billion.
    Source: Reuters

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    This article was originally published in forum thread: FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 116 Comments
    1. CanadianAngela's Avatar
      CanadianAngela -
      Quote Originally Posted by formercanuck View Post
      I suspect that in the long term they will increase rural coverage 'somewhat'. There's a lot at stake for TMobile. From IoT to media... It's a 'go big or go home' approach, especially if you have the spectrum to deploy and win. Some government contracts are :meh: while others may be like a pot of gold. Future logistics and driverless vehicles will require big infrastructure, and it would be a game changer. That being said... TMobile has a long ways to go ... Including backup generators.
      ]
      There will be a lot of government contracts that require 5G because of IOT devices that cities, counties, and states want to deploy. But this won't necessarily require rural coverage.

      T-Mobile is way behind AT&T and Verizon in the deployment of 5G. Now that the Sprint merger appears to be a done deal they are going to have to start spending a lot of money to catch up on 5G, but they are going to miss the early adopter government and industry segment. AT&T and Verizon have been deploying LTE small cells all over my area and those cells can be quickly upgraded to 5G once the backhaul fiber is installed. T-Mobile hasn't started with small cells yet in my area.

      For AT&T and Verizon subscribers there is an expectation of rural coverage but T-Mobile's customer base is more price conscious and has lower expectations of rural coverage. I thought about moving our personal phones from T-Mobile to Verizon or to a Verizon MVNO, in order to improve coverage but I don't want to lose T-Mobile's international roaming.
    1. hwertz's Avatar
      hwertz -
      I don't know if it's fair to say T-Mo is "way" behind. AT&T and VZW have not had 5G out for that long, and the devices at this point are not yet mature (something odd like the current Galaxy S10 5g supports only mmwave 5G, and S10 Note only sub-6ghz 5G...) I do have to admit, if I were in a market with mmwave 5G that S10 5G would be tempting. You are right that anyone that's put in a dense LTE network's in a better position to run a dense 5G network.

      Does anyone know what kind of wireless backhaul the cell cos are using? I've read T-Mo favors running fiber to a site and wireless backhaul off of that, and VZW does that here in Iowa; Iowa City for example, the sites originally each had a T1 for data (when 3G came up here initially it would max at exactly 1.5mbps due to this). From what I gather they requested faster 100mbps or gigabit lines, waited some months, then put in wireless backhaul when the lines were not there yet. The fiber runs to a site downtown that probably is visible from several other sites and the backhaul works it's way out from there.
    1. wilbur101's Avatar
      wilbur101 -
      Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
      LOL . Say something interesting next time you try to attack T-Mobile.
      Not attacking T-Mobile. Just pointing out what will happen.

      May try them again so no need to jump on me. I actually support the merger now
    1. NotABiot's Avatar
      NotABiot -
      Quote Originally Posted by wilbur101 View Post
      I'm no longer a T-Mobile customer. Got too expensive compared to the deal I got with att.

      One thing we can be sure of, if this deal goes through T-Mobile will surely raise prices after the 3 years.
      You have no basis for this conjecture. Especially considering that the trend has been for lower prices and increased value, all along the history of cell plans for the past couple of decades, which have had periodic major mergers.

      I would not say this myself, but I can see that someone would say you are "bashing T-Mobile" when you are condemning the company for actions it has not done, and most likely never will.
    1. NotABiot's Avatar
      NotABiot -
      Quote Originally Posted by CanadianAngela View Post
      ....I thought about moving our personal phones from T-Mobile to Verizon or to a Verizon MVNO, in order to improve coverage but I don't want to lose T-Mobile's international roaming.
      Do you need international coverage very frequently?
    1. wilbur101's Avatar
      wilbur101 -
      Possible but around here if you don't worship T-Mobile you get labels like hater and basher

      For the record I'm for the merger since I think it's the better of the two choices even if prices eventually go up

      I think prices will go up merger or no merger
    1. DRNewcomb's Avatar
      DRNewcomb -
      Quote Originally Posted by CanadianAngela View Post
      T-Mobile is way behind AT&T and Verizon in the deployment of 5G......
      "Way behind"??? I'd say "Weeks behind" and that's just because they don't care to make any monumental 5G screw-ups like Verizon did with their 5G roll-out belly-flop.
    1. Guest597's Avatar
      Guest597 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
      "Way behind"??? I'd say "Weeks behind" and that's just because they don't care to make any monumental 5G screw-ups like Verizon did with their 5G roll-out belly-flop.
      Yeah they will be able to gain ground fast so not too behind. I wouldnít even really call them behind at this point with how little 5g the rest have
    1. CanadianAngela's Avatar
      CanadianAngela -
      Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
      Do you need international coverage very frequently?
      A few times a year. when we land in a foreign country we want our phones to be working right away, even if it's just slow data and paid calls, and then we can go buy a local prepaid SIM card for high-speed data. That's an advantage of T-Mobile postpaid. But the coverage issues of T-Mobile in the U.S. are beginning to weigh heavily on our family.
    1. Greenmule's Avatar
      Greenmule -
      In AUG/2019, VZW adjusted their unlimited plans and rearranged the capped data alotments with the most expensive, the $100.00/month plan getting 75 GB of Premium 4gLTE, up from 50GB, I think, and 30GB of 4G LTE hotspot data, which was doubled from 15GB.

      Today, AT&T announced a similar move, adding a lower priced tier of capped unl data and adding 15GB of hotspot to the former low priced plan and promising an Elite Plan to compete with Verizon, complete with HBO Max by MAY/2020.

      With the impending buyout of Sprint in mind, did the big 2 duolopy, AT&T and Verizon, raise prices or lower prices?
    1. jakeuten's Avatar
      jakeuten -
      Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
      "Way behind"??? I'd say "Weeks behind" and that's just because they don't care to make any monumental 5G screw-ups like Verizon did with their 5G roll-out belly-flop.
      Well, Verizonís ď5G belly flopĒ is giving them 1-2 Gbps speeds throughout downtown Chicago, whereas T-Mobile can barely load Ookla, and AT&T is stuck between 10-100 Mbps LTE. At least that was my experience last month, with an iPhone 11 Pro on AT&T, Note 10+ 5G on Verizon, and iPhone 8 Plus on Verizon. Itís lacking 4x4 and LAA, but I donít think those tiny WiFi router of an excuse flexi zones T-Mobile uses as small cells support either of those features. Iíd say thatís a pretty damn good use for 5G mmW. Verizon has it on pretty much every small cell they have down there, and there are hundreds. Thatís quite a bit more than ďa few weeks behind,Ē as that work takes years to do.


      Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
    1. CanadianAngela's Avatar
      CanadianAngela -
      Quote Originally Posted by Greenmule View Post
      In AUG/2019, VZW adjusted their unlimited plans and rearranged the capped data alotments with the most expensive, the $100.00/month plan getting 75 GB of Premium 4gLTE, up from 50GB, I think, and 30GB of 4G LTE hotspot data, which was doubled from 15GB.

      Today, AT&T announced a similar move, adding a lower priced tier of capped unl data and adding 15GB of hotspot to the former low priced plan and promising an Elite Plan to compete with Verizon, complete with HBO Max by MAY/2020.

      With the impending buyout of Sprint in mind, did the big 2 duolopy, AT&T and Verizon, raise prices or lower prices?
      Adding higher data caps, that the vast, vast majority of customers will never reach, is not lowering prices.

      Whether Verizon includes 50GB versus 75GB of phone data, and 15GB versus 30GB of hotspot data, it matters to almost no one. Average monthly data usage per person is between 4GB and 7GB depending on the carrier and on which study you believe. Personally we could reduce our data usage by about 80% if we used Wi-Fi when it's available, but we don't bother. We'd want to use a VPN with Wi-Fi in some cases (airports, hotels, libraries, restaurants) which is a hassle.

      T-Mobile at least includes some useful stuff, including basic Netflix and free, albeit slow, international data. I'd much rather have Netflix than HBO because I would be paying for Netflix but I wouldn't pay for HBO. But this inclusion of unrelated freebies to entice customers is getting a little ridiculous. I'd like a bowl of chili and a Frosty from Wendy's, or a Double-Double from In N Out please, I have no interest in a free taco from Taco Bell. But what I'd really like is better coverage.
    1. DRNewcomb's Avatar
      DRNewcomb -
      Quote Originally Posted by jakeuten View Post
      Well, Verizonís ď5G belly flopĒ is giving them 1-2 Gbps speeds throughout downtown Chicago, whereas T-Mobile can barely load Ookla, and AT&T is stuck between 10-100 Mbps LTE. ......
      I suppose you're right, provided that your whole world is Chicago.
      Attachment 164372
    1. jakeuten's Avatar
      jakeuten -
      Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
      I suppose you're right, provided that your whole world is Chicago.
      Attachment 164372
      Verizon has launched 5G in 14 cities so far this year, including NYC. Minneapolis has a similar 5G grid to Chicago (Iíve been to both in the last month) canít speak for other cities, but theyíre clearly not a few weeks ahead of T-Mobile. More like months if not years.


      Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
    1. Guest597's Avatar
      Guest597 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jakeuten View Post
      Verizon has launched 5G in 14 cities so far this year, including NYC. Minneapolis has a similar 5G grid to Chicago (Iíve been to both in the last month) canít speak for other cities, but theyíre clearly not a few weeks ahead of T-Mobile. More like months if not years.


      Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
      If they get sprint squared away I think T-Mobile will catch up fast. If they donít get sprints spectrum then it will take longer
    1. CanadianAngela's Avatar
      CanadianAngela -
      Quote Originally Posted by jakeuten View Post
      Verizon has launched 5G in 14 cities so far this year, including NYC. Minneapolis has a similar 5G grid to Chicago (Iíve been to both in the last month) canít speak for other cities, but theyíre clearly not a few weeks ahead of T-Mobile. More like months if not years.
      Verizon and AT&T are already competing for corporate and government 5G customers that want the low latency needed for many IOT applications. Low latency is one of the major advantages of 5G. The other advantage over 5G is the capacity increase you can get due to the higher data rates. But to a user, they'll see little difference in 50 Mb/s or 1000 Mb/s unless they're transferring a huge amount of data like long videos or lots of high-resolution photos.

      For T-Mobile, I think the goal is to be able to sell home internet service via 5G to compete against Comcast and other ISPs that have fiber or coax infrastructure.

      Yes, Verizon and AT&T are way ahead of T-Mobile in terms of 5G deployment, I don't know where anyone could have gotten the idea that they are "weeks" behind, or why they would say that kind of thing when they know it to be untrue.

      I would probably not buy a new non-5G mobile phone at this time, I would wait for 2020 when the 5G iPhone is likely to come out, and the next generation of 5G Android phones appear. Remember, even though 5G phones are of little use in the U.S. right now, if you keep your phone for three to four years you probably don't want to buy a non-5G model at this time.
    1. Guest597's Avatar
      Guest597 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CanadianAngela View Post
      Verizon and AT&T are already competing for corporate and government 5G customers that want the low latency needed for many IOT applications. Low latency is one of the major advantages of 5G. The other advantage over 5G is the capacity increase you can get due to the higher data rates. But to a user, they'll see little difference in 50 Mb/s or 1000 Mb/s unless they're transferring a huge amount of data like long videos or lots of high-resolution photos.

      For T-Mobile, I think the goal is to be able to sell home internet service via 5G to compete against Comcast and other ISPs that have fiber or coax infrastructure.

      Yes, Verizon and AT&T are way ahead of T-Mobile in terms of 5G deployment, I don't know where anyone could have gotten the idea that they are "weeks" behind, or why they would say that kind of thing when they know it to be untrue.

      I would probably not buy a new non-5G mobile phone at this time, I would wait for 2020 when the 5G iPhone is likely to come out, and the next generation of 5G Android phones appear. Remember, even though 5G phones are of little use in the U.S. right now, if you keep your phone for three to four years you probably don't want to buy a non-5G model at this time.
      Thatís why I say It all comes down to sprint. If that pans out they should be able to do fine for 5g. Without it things could be bumpy for a while
    1. DRNewcomb's Avatar
      DRNewcomb -
      Quote Originally Posted by CanadianAngela View Post
      ..... I don't know where anyone could have gotten the idea that they are "weeks" behind, .....
      Simple. The companies have different "visions" for what 5G will become and are implementing those visions. Apples and oranges. Different races. Someone who's a second behind at the start of a sprint has lost the race. A second behind at the start of a marathon puts you in the leading pack. The difference between a sprint and a marathon is where the finish line is set. They're not significantly behind anyone, except in the perception of some people who think the race is a sprint. They are fully engaged in deploying their 5G plan. T-Mobile has been deploying 5G-capable base stations for the last, what? (year and a half?). They've deployed mm-Wave 5G in certain metro markets; they have 5G-ready low-band base stations and they're selling at least one 5G phone. What they do need is Sprint's band-41 spectrum. Without it they'll have to rob Peter to pay Paul in their mid-band spectrum.

      P.S. I believe that everyone is entitled to his opinion, so if you have a different option, that's fine. I won't demand that you justify yours.
    1. hwertz's Avatar
      hwertz -
      Honestly if T-Mo's been deploying 5G-capable hardware for the last year and a half (I assume these are SDR -- software defined radio -- with enough CPU power and RAM to handle 5G, so it'd just be a software update...) then they aren't necessarily far behind at all. VZW got the headlines for their mmwave deployment, but it would make sense (sub-6 at least) to largely wait for DSS (dynamic spectrum sharing) and flip all the 4G to 4G/5G at once.

      I'm guessing (?) that once DSS is running, AT&T, VZW, and T-Mo will all use it, and all advertise this all as "5G" coverage, probably not breaking out their mmwave 5G coverage at all (it'll be fast where it exists but will not look good on that national coverage map...)
    1. Jack Hagar's Avatar
      Jack Hagar -
      "Sprint on Monday reported losing nearly 300,000 phone subscribers in the latest quarter alongside profit losses and revenue declines"


      Yep. Sprint will be totally fine without the merger

      Attachment 164377
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