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Thread: The final obstacle to the T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Begins Tomorrow

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    I'm just ready for the deal to be over so tmobile knows for sure what path they will take

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    Quote Originally Posted by zapjb View Post
    I believe you are talking about broadband pricing. A combined TMSpr will not be a substantial competitor to major broadband providers. Certainly not enough of one to influence industry pricing.
    Yes, they will. They plan to be the fourth largest provider by 2021 and have 9.5 million broadband customers by 2024:

    https://newtmobile.com/

    They will get so much high band spectrum from Sprint that they'll be able to rollout broadband as well as provide video like no other wireless carrier could. The internet providers don't want to see this competition. But clearly the competition will be great for the consumer if its allowed to happen.

    Good bye Tello, & other supper value MVNOs.
    What percentage of the population use "supper value MVNOs"? The opposition to the merger is over something that just a tiny percentage of people might benefit from----and there's no guarantee of that because the rates can rise at any time. The broadband competition is something that many millions more can benefit from.

    The network improvements for Sprint and T-Mobile will affect 129 million current customers (even after subtracting the 9 million customers heading to Dish.) That's over 1/3 of the population that will get better coverage and service. But no, instead it's important to protect Tello. What a joke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jet1000 View Post
    .....What percentage of the population use "supper value MVNOs"? ....
    According to the best numbers I can find, 12.7M people use the "superest value MVNO": Lifeline Services (a.k.a. "Free" phones). I don't know if there are any numbers for MVNO usage based on per-month cost.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianAngela View Post
    Well-stated. I don't know if the probability of more broadband competition, via mmWave 5G, is going to impress the judge enough to offset the decreased competition in mobile service. OTOH, you could argue that if the merger creates a third top-tier carrier then competition would increase, at least at the high end, but it would completely eliminate both of the second tier carriers that currently sell to price-sensitive customers and that compete on price for those customers. That would leave only the MVNOs at the low end, plus any prepaid services that the three top-tier carriers decided to offer.
    Thanks! I was thinking n41, not mmWave. n41 is a big part of this, as it the primary reason that T-Mobile wants to buy Sprint, other than just more customers and reducing competition in the mobile market.

    A lot of people have argued that the combined T-Sprint will create a third competitor to AT&T and Verizon, and I actually believed this theory to an extent until I dug deeper into T-Mobile's coverage deployments and used T-Mobile's service, and their coverage in areas today dominated by AT&T and Verizon is the bare minimum needed to crayon in their map, not something that can be considered real competition to the big two. That's a very fair assessment of how this affects price-sensitive customers, since Sprint is by far the cheapest postpaid service today.

    I worry about the MVNOs. The only reason that there are so many of them is that it's so hard for four separate carriers to collude to put the MVNOs out of business, and no carrier wants to lose the revenue that they get from selling excess capacity to the MVNOs. But clearly the carriers would prefer to be selling retail prepaid service, like Visible, Cricket, Metro, and Boost, than wholesaling their excess capacity out to Tracfone, RedPocket, Consumer Cellular, and all the other MVNOs. With only three carriers, it becomes easier to gently collude, just as airlines do now.
    My sense is that the mid-tier $40-$50/mo MVNO plans would remain mostly unchanged with small price increases, but the real bottom of the market that is provided by various Sprint and T-Mobile MVNOs would, over time, disappear, making the point of entry for a monthly type of plan significantly higher.

    I don't think Wal-Mart's role in the MVNO market would significantly drop, but some of the bargain-basement plans would disappear, and I think you'd see a halting or slowing of the growth in high-GB plans, each of which fills various niches of niches in the market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zapjb View Post
    I believe you are talking about broadband pricing. A combined TMSpr will not be a substantial competitor to major broadband providers. Certainly not enough of one to influence industry pricing.
    I have to defend that argument a little bit. I think an n41 5G home offering could significantly cut into lower-usage cable customers, and take a lot of xDSL customers. While I'd agree that it won't fully compete with cable for high-usage users, the reality is that a lot of users just don't need that robust of a connection, and a lower priced n41 connection would suffice. Also, in rural areas, it could transform connectivity if T-Mobile is serious about doing rural fixed wireless.

    All that being said, I believe those potential benefits are outweighed by the harm to the mobile side of the business, whether postpaid, prepaid, or MVNO. That's where the trade-off comes into play.

    Within a year prices will soar. Good bye Tello, & other supper value MVNOs. The only MVNOs that will benefit will be the TF brands.
    I'm curious as to how you think the merger would benefit TF/Wal-Mart?

    Quote Originally Posted by jet1000 View Post
    What percentage of the population use "supper value MVNOs"? The opposition to the merger is over something that just a tiny percentage of people might benefit from----and there's no guarantee of that because the rates can rise at any time. The broadband competition is something that many millions more can benefit from.
    So the issue here is that super value MVNOs are just one segment of the market that will be negatively affected by a T-Sprint merger. The entry level to postpaid will shoot up on day one, since Sprint is much cheaper than even T-Mobile, and T-Mobile will have less pressure on their pricing. Other MVNOs will start to creep up as well.

    Looking at whether those competitive harms are worth it for the potential for improved home broadband service is a value judgement, but ignoring the very real competitive harms to the mobile market when making that determination is intellectually dishonest.

    The network improvements for Sprint and T-Mobile will affect 129 million current customers (even after subtracting the 9 million customers heading to Dish.) That's over 1/3 of the population that will get better coverage and service. But no, instead it's important to protect Tello. What a joke.
    There's no evidence that T-Mobile will suddenly build out better coverage once they acquire Sprint. They would have to basically tear down and completely rebuild large chunks of their network that is improperly spaced, and fill in a ton of holes that they left when crayoning in the map. They would have their hands full just integrating their networks. Urban areas may see a capacity increase from increased density, particularly on n41, but Sprint already has a fairly dense network in these areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoxFan76 View Post
    ...I'm curious as to how you think the merger would benefit TF/Wal-Mart?...
    Don't think I mentioned WM.

    I really think it'll be like a slaughter house post merger. With MVNOs folding like cards once their current contracts with the carriers expire. But TF will be able to IF they need to sign contracts with carriers worth Billions. What other MVNO can guarantee even 100 Million to carriers?

    So with less MVNOs (by 25%-90% less MVNOs post merger & contracts expiring & stubborn MVNOs going BK because they can longer compete price wise) TF profits.
    If my actions include deeds of philanthropy in charity and acts of loving kindness I am living in my Faith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoxFan76 View Post
    The entry level to postpaid will shoot up on day one, since Sprint is much cheaper than even T-Mobile, and T-Mobile will have less pressure on their pricing.
    Neither the 9 million Boost customers nor the 46 million remaining Sprint customers that go to T-mobile, will have their plans increased on day 1. Even if the Sprint plans are no longer offered to new customers looking for service, T-Mobile will be offering their new Connect plans of $15 and $25. This whole armageddon that is being predicted for MVNO pricing is being blown way of proportion.

    Keeping Sprint in business doesn't guarantee that prices stay low. Sprint loses is a money loser and can't offer service below cost forever.


    Urban areas may see a capacity increase from increased density, particularly on n41, but Sprint already has a fairly dense network in these areas.
    Click most any metro area on Root Metrics map and these urban areas usually show three carriers with fairly close scores and a fourth carrier, Sprint, lagging behind with a much lower score. That's the fact. Even in urban areas their network is severely lacking.

    And their massive amount of n41 spectrum pretty much goes to waste. Clearwire owned that and had the purpose to roll out wireless broadband. But the technology of the time wasn't really there yet. Now with current technology, it can be put to use by the New T-Mobile to compete with wired broadband service.

    I think an n41 5G home offering could significantly cut into lower-usage cable customers, and take a lot of xDSL customers. While I'd agree that it won't fully compete with cable for high-usage users, the reality is that a lot of users just don't need that robust of a connection, and a lower priced n41 connection would suffice.
    I completely agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    According to the best numbers I can find, 12.7M people use the "superest value MVNO": Lifeline Services (a.k.a. "Free" phones).
    The Lifeline program is an FCC program and won't go away due to the merger.

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    The final obstacle to the T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Begins Tomorrow

    I feel that in this debate what we aren’t hearing is any pushback or public outrage against the current duopoly as it stands.

    I feel that that there are political forces who want T-Mobile (and T-Mobile alone) to bear the cross that they wouldn’t and currently don’t demand from present day Verizon or ATT.

    It feels disingenuous to prefer to retain the status quo; therefore by proxy retaining duopoly domination; and the continual chest thumping claims of network superiority for those who can afford it and: “also-ran, inferior service for those who can’t.
    “The Internet wasn’t meant to be metered in bits and bytes, so it’s insane that wireless companies are still making you buy it this way. The rate plan is dead — it’s a fossil from a time when wireless was metered by every call or text.” John Legere 1/5/2017

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    Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
    I feel that in this debate what we aren’t hearing is any pushback or public outrage against the current duopoly as it stands...
    Agreed.

    It is not being litigated currently afaik.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zapjb View Post
    Agreed.

    It is not being litigated currently afaik.
    I agree with you.

    The reason I bring it up is because (I feel) that if these politicians, public think tank’s and corporate lobbyists really care about the consumer they would be fighting the duopoly tooth-and-nail and we’d hear about it more often on Mobile enthusiast sites like HoFo.

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    I can smell the fear from all the Verizon and AT&T fans that this deal with Sprint will close. What we have is a bunch of people shorting T-Mobile stock prices. If the government really wanted true competitive market they would break up both AT&T and Verizon into a third company.

    Since AT&T and Verizon received about 90% of the monthly revenue $$$, it doesn’t matter about the Sprint and T- Mobile merger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
    I agree with you.

    The reason I bring it up is because (I feel) that if these politicians, public think tank’s and corporate lobbyists really care about the consumer they would be fighting the duopoly tooth-and-nail and we’d hear about it more often on Mobile enthusiast sites like HoFo.
    I hear you. I'm wondering how to reply to this without antagonizing others. Let me be opaque then. It's the same but different.

    Take the total amount stolen or misappropriated from the collective. Where do we as a society go to attempt to get it back? As a society we go to where it isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
    I feel that in this debate what we aren’t hearing is any pushback or public outrage against the current duopoly as it stands.

    I feel that that there are political forces who want T-Mobile (and T-Mobile alone) to bear the cross that they wouldn’t and currently don’t demand from present day Verizon or ATT.

    It feels disingenuous to prefer to retain the status quo; therefore by proxy retaining duopoly domination; and the continual chest thumping claims of network superiority for those who can afford it and: “also-ran, inferior service for those who can’t.
    I don't think having four national carriers, two higher-end and two lower-end, constitutes a duopoly. Eliminating a competitor at the low-end is not going to cause those that shop primarily by price to suddenly gain superior service at the price points that they are currently enjoying. If the T-Mobile/Sprint merger eventually results in a third high-end network, then T-Mobile will charge more, and will be justified in doing so. But all price-sensitive customers will have to move to MVNOs or prepaid brands owned by the national carriers.

    I don't think anyone is dumb enough to believe that Charlie Ergen is going to take Boost's 8 million customers and create a fourth national network with them, the whole idea is ludicrous. Did you ever look at the Boost coverage map? It includes all of Sprint's roaming partners, even though there is no data roaming at all, and only 50 minutes of voice roaming per month. The family plans are terrible. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all offer much better deals. Boost takes advantage of credit-challenged customers with the least knowledge and the least amount of money, offering a low-quality service at high prices. But, like Cricket, they do offer retail store sales and they put retail outlets in areas the fit the demographics of their customers. There hasn't been a new thread in the HF Boost forum in months because HF users tend to be more technologically savvy. If you want a higher-quality prepaid option you either have to do it online or go to a store like Best Buy or Walmart. You also generally have to come up with the money for the phone, you're not going to get a free smart phone like you do on Boost or Cricket.

    Name:  boostmap.jpg
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    The duopoly emerged because the government created it when cellular was in its infancy. They divided up the 800 MHz cellular spectrum into A & B sides and one side went to the incumbent wireline carrier and one side went to another company. The intent was to have competition, rather than have the RBOCs (and GTE in a few areas) be the only cellular providers.

    The latecomers like Sprint and T-Mobile ended up with the less desirable 1900 MHz cellular spectrum. The incumbent carriers have leveraged their initial advantage through a long series of merger and acquisitions, including the purchase of many smaller rural carriers and those purchases gave them a tremendous coverage advantage over Sprint and T-Mobile. The FCC has tried, a little, to help the second tier carriers by requiring that the top tier carriers at least sell roaming. There's really nothing wrong with Sprint or T-Mobile service as long as you remain in heavily populated urban areas. Roaming agreements can provide coverage in other areas.

    Approving the merger rewards Sprint for not investing in their network.
    Last edited by CanadianAngela; 01-08-2020 at 12:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
    I agree with you.

    The reason I bring it up is because (I feel) that if these politicians, public think tank’s and corporate lobbyists really care about the consumer they would be fighting the duopoly tooth-and-nail and we’d hear about it more often on Mobile enthusiast sites like HoFo.
    The politicians appear to be mainly worried about the effect on lower-income users that have benefited from the competition between Sprint & T-Mobile, and Boost & Metro PCS. They are less interested in the benefits that might eventually come from having three high-quality national carriers.

    Which is better? What we have now, where price-sensitive customer can choose a lower cost option:
    1. Verizon: Excellent
    2. AT&T: Very Good
    3. T-Mobile: Good
    4. Sprint: Fair

    versus what we might get if T-Mobile acquires Sprint and then builds out their network to compete with AT&T and Verizon, where there will be no lower-cost options (other than MVNOs) but where, hopefully, three competitors instead of two, will help moderate prices:
    1. Verizon: Excellent
    2. AT&T: Very Good
    3. T-Mobile: Very Good

    I would say that the second scenario would probably benefit a larger number of users, but would hurt lower-income users that currently are willing to settle for lower quality service on Sprint and T-Mobile in exchange for a lower price. I know that T-Mobile has promised to not raise prices for a certain period of time but there are ways around that promise. They could drop things like free Netflix, they could stop including taxes and fees. They could eliminate the included international roaming (which would be a big mistake because that alone gains them a lot of customers).

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    Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
    I can smell the fear from all the Verizon and AT&T fans that this deal with Sprint will close. What we have is a bunch of people shorting T-Mobile stock prices. If the government really wanted true competitive market they would break up both AT&T and Verizon into a third company.

    Since AT&T and Verizon received about 90% of the monthly revenue $$$, it doesn’t matter about the Sprint and T- Mobile merger.
    Why would Verizon and AT&T “fans” be worried about this merger? Do you really care about how much T-Mobile makes? Does that impact your actual life somehow? I could care less how much cell companies make, or how well another carrier works in Utah, West Virginia, or Maine. Use what works for you. No need to hail corporate.


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