T-Mobile’s Uncarrier initiatives are great for a number of reasons. For one thing, they have direct and obvious benefits for consumers, who can enjoy a number of ways to save money thanks to T-Mobile’s new plans. For another, they’re shaking up an industry that has historically been anything but consumer friendly. There may end up being another, potentially more important benefit, however: T-Mobile’s Uncarrier policies and low plan prices may help convince regulators to block any potential takeover bid from Sprint.
Keeping four major national carriers is seen by many industry watchers as being critically important to ensuring a competitive landscape in the U.S. wireless industry. According to recent reports, however, SoftBank-owned Sprint is currently preparing a bid to acquire T-Mobile in an effort to better compete with top carriers Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
A T-Mobile takeover bid from Sprint “would hit a lot of static from federal regulators and antitrust officials,” Medley Global Advisors analyst Jeff Silva recently told Bloomberg Businessweek. “[There isn’t] political appetite for seeing the national field reduced by one, especially if that one is a maverick carrier.”
According to Silva and other analysts, U.S. regulators will likely be inclined to prevent the acquisition of a carrier that offers low prices and other competitive programs that have clear and undeniable benefits for consumers. And after all, T-Mobile is America’s most important wireless carrier right now, so seeing it scooped up by a struggling company looking for quick subscriber and spectrum gains might not be in customers’ best interest.