T-Mobile, Sprint Say 5G-Focused Merger Will Lead to 'Cord Cutting'

The operators argue that the public will drop 'costly' wired broadband services in favor of one bill to stream it all.

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

June 19, 2018

2 Min Read
T-Mobile, Sprint Say 5G-Focused Merger Will Lead to 'Cord Cutting'

T-Mobile and Sprint have told the FCC that if it allows their proposed $26.5 billion merger, more American consumers will be encouraged to "cut the cord" on their wired broadband package, thanks to the nationwide availability of a high-speed mobile 5G network from the combined operators.

The operators suggest that the merger could boost the cord-cutting trend as part of their Public Interest Statement (PIS), filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Monday, which asks the agency to transfer Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s radio licenses to the "new" T-Mobile US Inc. (See T-Mobile to Buy Sprint for $26.5B to Create US 5G Powerhouse.)

Both companies have said a merger would help them "leapfrog" AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) by beginning to deliver a nationwide mobile 5G network in 2019.

"The new 5G's network's speed, capacity, and low prices will allow consumers to 'cut the cord' and use their mobile wireless service as their broadband service both inside and outside the home and pocket the savings from eliminating a costly and unnecessary wired broadband bill," T-Mobile and Sprint said in the PIS. They also promise that the "new T-Mobile" will offer an "aggressively priced" wireless in-home broadband product to compete with "traditional providers." (See Can the 'New' T-Mobile Make America's Networks Great Again?)

Otherwise, the pair reiterated previous claims about the proposed merger in the new statement, namely that the merger will deliver more US jobs, better rural service and lower prices overall.

T-Mobile has previously promised that a blended 5G network with Sprint -- using high, low and mid-band radio spectrum -- will deliver average network speeds of 450-Mbit/s, which is faster than many fixed DSL and cable offerings in the US today. Indeed, the PIS makes it clear that -- if the merger is approved -- the new T-Mobile will be taking on the cablecos as well as its mobile rivals.

Yet AT&T and Verizon are promoting 5G, albeit with fixed 5G tests so far, as a gigabit-speed experience when launched. Both operators have talked of offering gigabit or near-gigabit speeds in initial operators, and both are promising initial mobile services in late 2018 or 2019.

So, although T-Mobile is aggressively pushing a nationwide 5G network as a gamechanger for the "new" operator, much still needs to be sorted out as regards speeds, coverage and -- especially -- pricing for the next generation of wireless services.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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