T-Mobile merger with Sprint: everything that has changed 3 years later
Three years ago, T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint has been finalized, and the national list of major carriers was reduced from four to three. At the time, T-Mobile promised the merger would be positive for consumers and the mobile industry as a whole – and while that was truer than not, there are still promises that haven’t. been materialized.
But it hasn’t made things worse for consumers either, at least not yet. Although having the choice between three major operators instead of four is worrying for the future (Dish has so far not posed a real challenge), competition has kept package prices relatively stable and has even allowed significant savings on high-end phones. Carriers have continued to expand their respective 5G networks, leading to new 5G home internet options for people who aren’t connected to broadband (or are looking for an alternative to their traditional cable options). It’s not the rosiest future, but it’s not as bad as some reviewers had feared.
In an April 10 blog post, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert trumpeted how far the carrier has come in three years, citing everything from better 5G service to more home internet availability in through lower prices for everyone, even people signing up with other carriers. .
Indeed, folding Sprint’s midband 5G towers gave T-Mobile a head start in 5G, helping it achieve nationwide coverage of more than 200 million Americans with 5G faster in 2021, years ahead of the two Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile has also improved 5G access for rural customers, Sievert said.
T-Mobile relied on its largest 5G network to launch and expand its 5G home internet service. For a $50 monthly subscription (if they set up automatic payments), the service offers customers higher-speed connectivity compared to dial-up, expensive satellite, or underdeveloped DSL or cable alternatives. . While speeds aren’t as fast or reliable as a good cable or fiber connection, T-Mobile’s 5G service can reach consumers who aren’t connected to the fastest internet networks.
And as Sievert notes, carrier competition has kept prices level — for example, Verizon’s comparable 5G Home service also starts at $50 a month.
Keep phone plans low
When it comes to phone plan prices, the carrier landscape after the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint has preserved competition in favor of consumers, at least for now. Indeed, carrier discounts and deals have even led to a boom in high-end phones, which soared to 18% of the phone market early this year, according to IDC analyst Nabila Popal ( compared to 10% before the pandemic). Carriers are desperate to get consumers to sign three-year contracts, so they’ve subsidized most or all of the price of phones like the iPhone 14 Or Samsung Galaxy S23 series.
T-Mobile remains one of the last of the Big Three to still offer two-year options on most of its devices, a more user-friendly offering. (A notable exception are pricey foldables like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold lineup, which require a three-year commitment to get an upgrade discount.) That said, the carrier has tied in some of its best perks and promotions — like Free Apple TV Plus and its best device trade-in deals – one requirement to be on its most expensive Magenta Max plans.
On the lower end of the price spectrum, T-Mobile delivered on its pre-merger promise to offer a $15 per month plan with unlimited talk and text plus 2.5GB of data, which the carrier has since increased to 3, 5 GB in line with its proposal to increase the data allowance of this cheap plan by 500 MB per year. He also said he would stick with Mint Mobile’s $15 per month plan should its planned purchase of $1.35 billion of the prepaid carrier owned by Ryan Reynolds passes.
Another major feature of T-Mobile and Sprint merger proposal offered low-cost or free data plans; discounted laptops and tablets; and access to mobile hotspots for 10 million low-income households. What the carrier has called Project 10 Million has so far delivered $4.8 billion in services and provided devices to 5.3 million students through the end of 2022, a spokesperson said. T-Mobile to CNET.
The carrier hadn’t offered a deadline for hitting the 10 million marker, but it said the program, which launched in 2020, would run for five years, meaning it will expire in 2025. T-Mobile did not say what will happen after his engagement period ends.
Missed merger: jobs below promises
T-Mobile does not appear to have fulfilled other promises made for the merger. Most important is jobs, with then-CEO John Legere saying the newly merged company would create new jobs and hire 11,000 additional workers by 2024. The new T-Mobile started with around 80,000 employees in 2020, according to regulatory documents, but after losing about 5,000 employees in 2021 due to layoffs, as well as more jobs cut among network and engineering as well as retail employees, the carrier appears to have breached its promise so far.
When reached for comment, T-Mobile pushed back against the idea that the carrier employs fewer people now than before the merger. But he did not share exact personnel figures, saying only that thousands of jobs have been created. T-Mobile also did not say whether it would meet Legere’s hiring goal of 11,000.
“Before we merged with Sprint, we said we would have more employees as a combined company than the two standalone companies would have had without the merger – and that’s exactly what we did,” said a T-Mobile spokesperson. In the years following the merger, the spokesperson said, the carrier also “created thousands of jobs for suppliers and partners.”
Granted, the jobs-related proposal was made by another CEO and before a pandemic led to layoffs and tough economic conditions across many industries. But the current situation is even gloomier than T-Mobile originally proposed.
The merger also changed the balance of power between the carriers. In their pre-merger assurances, T-Mobile and Sprint said they would divest some of their assets to Dish, making the satellite TV provider the nation’s de facto fourth-largest carrier and save merge. Dish has acquired prepaid mobile brand Boost from Sprint and has the option of paying $3.59 billion for 800 MHz wireless spectrum to form its own 5G network, although it may end up passing the offer for save money after you finish testing the spectrum. In the meantime, Dish has entered into agreements with AT&T and T-Mobile to use their 5G networks while it builds its own.
Although Dish finally registrations open for its 5G service in August, and launched its own $25 service prepaid service in december, progress has been slow to align the carrier with the much more established T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. For now, Dish is not a serious threat to its big siblings.
What happens after the merge timer expires?
The US Department of Justice required numerous assurances, like those listed above, to approve the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, but they all have expiration dates. That has implications for who gets helped by T-Mobile’s new plans — like students helped by Project 10 Million, which runs through 2025, as well as regular consumers through plan pricing.
As part of the merger, T-Mobile agreed to lock the prices of its plans for three years, although we do not know what will happen next. Last year, the operator introduced the price lock of the same name as an extended feature for most of its prepaid and postpaid mobile plans as well as broadband internet plans, but only new customers are eligible.
There are still a few other merger promises stretching into the years to come. By the end of 2023, T-Mobile must provide 5G service to 97% of the population, and within six years to 99%. The carrier must cover 85% of the American rural population by the end of this year and 90% within six years. But beyond that, it’s unclear what T-Mobile has in store for consumers.
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