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T-Mobile and Sprint sued: What could this mean for 5G? | TECH(feed)

Network World | Jun 13, 2019

The merger of the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the U.S. might hit a delay following a lawsuit brought forth by 10 state attorneys general. T-Mobile and Sprint say this merger would advance 5G development, but critics say it would violate antitrust laws and eliminate competition. In this episode of TECH(feed), Juliet dives into the merger and discusses what it could mean for eventual 5G deployment in the U.S.

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Hey everyone welcome back to tech feed i’m juliet beauchamp. Today, shockingly, i’m not talking about huawei. Instead i’m talking about the potential merger between two wireless giants in the u-s--and what it could mean for the future of 5-g. Stick around.

Okay, the potential merger of sprint and t-mobile is maybe huawei-adjacent, if only because it has to do with 5-g. So originally, the head of the f-c-c in the united states gave the go-ahead to the 26 billion dollar merger. The deal has been pitched as a way to combine resources and advance 5-g research and deployment. This merger would bring the number of major wireless carriers in the u-s from four to three.

But the merger hit a roadblock recently when ten state attorneys general sued to block the deal. They allege that the deal would limit competition and therefore result in price hikes for consumers. The lawsuit may not necessarily stop the merger, but it will likely delay it. Execs at sprint and t-mobile had hoped to close the deal by july of this year--as in, next month.

That’s the business side of the story--but let’s dive into the tech side. What will this merger actually mean for 5-g--and how could this lawsuit affect it? T-mobile and sprint have said that this merger would be important for 5-g development. And that combining resources and, of course, money, would result in quicker 5-g deployment in rural areas that desperately need wireless access. That seems like a noble mission, and as i’ve said in previous videos, reliable and fast cellular networks are long-needed in parts of the united states underserved by current networks.

So if this merger is allegedly critical for faster 5-g implementation, how could this lawsuit affect 5-g? Well, this merger actually going through as planned isn’t a sure-thing. The head of the antitrust division at the u.s.department of justice has already pushed sprint and t-mobile to sell some of their businesses in an effort to limit power. And experts agree this lawsuit isn’t something to shrug off.

But i doubt delays to this merger would end 5-g development all together. 5-g progress is at the front of president trump’s mind--and it’s in the united states’s interest to deploy 5-g as soon as possible. 5-g means better wireless access for rural customers and more opportunities for innovation by american companies. Think self driving cars, drones, anything that would require a lot of wireless power-- and fast. Would 5-g advancement come slower without this merger? Sure, i can’t rule that out. But the merger would also place thousands of jobs at risk all while shrinking the field of wireless providers. It’s certainly a complex issue.

Thanks for watching this episode of tech feed. If you liked this video be sure to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. And let me know how you think this merger--and the lawsuit--may affect 5-g. See you next time.
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