As the trial to stop the T-Mobile/Sprint merger got underway today, Bloomberg is reporting that at least one Sprint executive suspected the merger would result in higher prices for consumers.
As a coalition of 13 states and the District of Columbia try to prevent the two wireless companies from merging, T-Mobile has maintained that the merger will ultimately benefit customers. Part of the rationale is that T-Mobile and Sprint need to combine to have the size and resources necessary to compete with Verizon and AT&T. Without the merger, the two smaller companies have indicated they would not be able to compete as effectively in the 5G market, leaving Verizon and AT&T little competition or incentive to keep prices low.
The states, on the other hand, have said that going from four major carriers to three would eliminate competition, resulting in higher prices. According to documents that have come to light on the first day of the trial, it seems that a Sprint executive agreed with that sentiment.
“Roger Sole, Sprint’s chief marketing officer, said in a text message in 2017 to Marcelo Claure, the carrier’s chief executive officer at the time, that the deal could mean an increase of $5 a month in average revenue per subscriber. Industry leaders AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. would also benefit with fewer players in the market, he said.”
We’ve already reported on the stakes in this trial, impacting how much states have a say in antitrust matters the federal government is not interested in pursuing. If more documents or testimony comes to light supporting Sole’s belief, the states may be able to make their case after all.