back to article Phew! All that competition in the US mobile industry was exhausting. Thank God for the FCC, am I right?

The FCC today ushered in a new era of reduced competition in America's mobile market by approving a merger between the third and fourth largest operators, T-Mobile US and Sprint. Exhausted over having to choose between different mobile operators, folks in the Land of the Free will now only have to pick one of three: AT&T, …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    Pai's corrupt crusade continues

    Pai's FCC will do anything and everything to ensure that the large telcos will be able to maintain their oligopoly and soak the citizenry for as much as they can, for as long as they can.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doom and gloom and somewhat slanted

    This article is all doom and gloom about how stupid the FCC is/was, etc. However Sprint has been teetering on bankruptcy for a long time, and SoftBank has been looking to offload it because of the cash burning for a while. T-Mobile USA hasn't actually been flush with cash either. So yes, reducing down to 3 carriers is worse than 4, but it's much better than 2 if both of these died. By combining, they at least have a better chance of survival, which *IS* a good thing!

    This article *ALSO* doesn't mention that part of the merger is that they have to give a huge chunk of Sprint's assets to DISH, who is going to be making a new 4th carrier. So really, the number of carriers is going to be the same after all. The article seems to not mention that as it gets in the way of their anti-FCC slant.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Doom and gloom and somewhat slanted

      True, the article didn't mention that, but I don't think that the DISH involvement "gets in the way" of the criticism of the FCC around this.

      Judging by the commentaries I've seen from the various analysts, the ones who think the DISH involvement is a real mitigating factor are the ones who have been in favor of the merger anyway, and the ones who have been against the merger don't think the DISH involvement really matters.

      I'm no expert, so I can't really determine who is more likely to be right. But I do know that the FCC has been making a lot of decisions that harm the citizenry, so it seems justified to look at this decision with an extreme degree of skepticism.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Doom and gloom and somewhat slanted

      Sure, I get what you're saying. Though, you are describing just one scenario (Sprint dies, leaving just T-Mob, Verizon and ATT). There are/were other options, such as, someone else more competent takes over Sprint and turns it around or merges it with someone outside the big 3.

      Softbank's mismanagement of yet another business shouldn't let them off the hook. We shouldn't sleepwalk into super-consolidation.

      PS: Doom and gloom is our jam. We're an antidote to much of the tech press which is usually hopped up on happy hype pills.

      C.

      1. maximillianwyse.wordpress.com

        Re: Doom and gloom and somewhat slanted

        FWIW, I would like to see TMO's and Sprint's spectrum holdings combined under one roof. If Sprint is broken up or its assets auctioned off, TMO is likely to end up weaker than before. In combination, it seems more likely we could see more options and more competition.

      2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: Doom and gloom is our jam

        I'm not sure "doom and gloom" puts it correctly. "A healthy amount of scepticism and cynicism with a humorous undercurrent" is how I've always considered the coverage of things on these hallowed pages.

        And that is why El Reg continues to win my reading time when I should actually be doing some work.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Doom and gloom and somewhat slanted

        hopped up on happy hype pills

        Where can I get some of these? Sounds like just what I need at the moment..

    3. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: Doom and gloom and somewhat slanted

      >However Sprint has been teetering on bankruptcy for a long time, and SoftBank has been looking to offload it because of the cash burning for a while. T-Mobile USA hasn't actually been flush with cash either.<

      That's what competition does. The alternative is both companies doing really well and having buckets of available capital---which came from where? Yep.

      Companies should be lean and mean. It means they have competition. When they don't, it's the customers getting soaked and generally getting poor service.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "Less competition is in fact more competition," A very Orwillian observation there, but appears that's what Pai believes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even that is a charitable interpretation in its assumption of good faith.

      More like it's what Pai expects *everyone else* to believe.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      that's what Pai believes.

      Pai belives in just one thing - doing the will of his corporate masters and, by doing so, inflating his future wage packet.

      When you look up "regulatory capure" in the dictionary it has a symlink to the entry for Pai.

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    What to do with Sprint?

    Something has to be done with Sprint. No matter how much money is thrown at them, they just can't bring themselves to serve customers well. It's a massive waste of spectrum having them around. The merger makes sense in that it will at least put some spectrum to use at T-Mobile. It's not clear if DISH will do anything with their cut, though. Maybe DISH can sell it to Comcast.

    On the downside, I'm a T-Mobile customer and I don't want any part of Sprint's diseased management ruining my service. That wouldn't be worth stronger cell signals.

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: What to do with Sprint?

      I can't speak to Sprint's namesake service but, as a customer of Sprint's PAYG "Boost Mobile"-branded service, FWIW, I have to say that I've been quite satisfied with the service, the coverage, and the price.

      It would be lovely to think that that will all remain once T-M gets their hooks in, but I'm having difficulty believing it.

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Excellent news

    Here in Canada we have 2 carriers because foreign competitors are banned (something about preserving our precious bodily fluids) and they compete so ruthlessly that they can't afford any of the luxurious deals available in the USA

    Now we won't have to feel so jealous of them

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just reposting what I put on the other article's comment

    And yet just last year, ElReg was so fond of the American system . Because a conservative administration, you know, was going to be totally an antitrust one.

    Ah well, that was one of the most bullshitting moments of Andrew. He had his moments of sanity, too.

    "After eight cosy years in which the Obama administration cuddled up to Silicon Valley, imposing meek remedies for abusing search and ad rivals, for example, the new administration is laying the groundwork, selling the idea of antitrust as a pro-market act of policing to conservatives."

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/07/24/eu_vs_us_android_antitrust/

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Just reposting what I put on the other article's comment

      So, on the basis of one article, you think El Reg was supporting the incoming administration?

      And yet, strangely, they have always highlighted the idiocy of Pai, and of Trump.

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Holmes

        Draining one swamp to fill another

        I think there were some elements of the anti-political rhetoric that the GOP slung with Trump as their candidate that appealed to many jaded members of the polity who saw Hillary in particular as more of the same. So the early analysis wasn't totally unjustified.

        Of course the incoming administration has only interrupted the old elites from lining their pockets in order to get in on the action.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Draining one swamp to fill another

          "Of course the incoming administration has only interrupted the old elites from lining their pockets in order to get in on the action."

          I don't actually think that's true. It looks to me like the "old elites" are lining their pockets more thickly than ever.

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Just reposting what I put on the other article's comment

      No . . . that was Andrew Orlowski grinding his anti-Google axe.

  7. Dinsdale247

    From the attached document

    "A study commissioned by the Canadian government found that Canada’s three-carrier wireless market had some of the highest mobile prices anywhere in the world. Today’s decision does not address any of this literature."

    We in Canada literally pay double what they do in the US. I don't think this fact was lost on the merging parties.

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