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Sprint, T-Mobile executives grilled in Congress on merger

Executives from Sprint and T-Mobile are on Capitol Hill today to face House representatives on the chamber’s Energy and Commerce Committee and defend their $26 billion merger.

The companies have made their case that the combination would help the United States lead the world in 5G deployment, would block off supposed cybersecurity threat Huawei from providing equipment for its network, would create jobs in rural areas, customer service and in network construction and would keep prices low for wholesale businesses as well as consumers.

“This is a unique merger in that there will be a significant increase in supply [of network capacity],” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

Reuters reports that several representatives as well as rural service providers, labor groups and consumer advocates brought up points against the deal.

One Iowa representative, for example, was not happy after T-Mobile acquired regional carrier Iowa Wireless last year and cut jobs. The Rural Wireless Association says constituent residents will “pay more money for wireless services” with the merger. The Communications Workers of America group is worried about lower wages and high prices for a disproportionate low-income population that have gravitated to either carrier for low service rates.

Nine senators have petitioned the FCC and Department of Justice to reject the deal. The FCC has yet to approve the deal.

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