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Tech & Science Sprint tells of business struggles in first day of T-Mobile merger trial

01:05  10 december  2019
01:05  10 december  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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The merger of T - Mobile and Sprint , the third- and fourth-largest carriers in the U.S. respectively, has been T - Mobile and Sprint will still have to complete a number of steps before the merger can go through. “5G for all will unleash incredible benefits and capabilities for consumers and businesses

But Sprint , burdened with a heavy load of debt, has struggled , and the goal remained elusive. ( T - Mobile ’s current parent company, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, would own 42 Regulators in Washington will scrutinize the merger , which would cede control of the United States wireless market

Timotheus Höttges wearing glasses and a black umbrella: Tim Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York © Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID Tim Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York

By Sheila Dang

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Executives from Sprint Corp testified on Monday that the U.S. wireless carrier has struggled to improve its network, hindering its growth and underscoring the need to merge with larger rival T-Mobile US Inc.

U.S. state attorneys general, led by New York and California, are suing to stop the merger.

The states seek to prove in Manhattan federal court that the deal between the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers would raise prices, particularly for users on prepaid plans. The state attorneys general, all Democrats, asked Judge Victor Marrero to order the companies to abandon the deal.

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The trial to determine the fate of the T - Mobile and Sprint merger has begun. The hearing marked the first day of a trial between the wireless carrier and a number of state attorneys general "DISH is a struggling satellite TV firm with no experience running a mobile wireless business – and no

T - Mobile and Sprint are near a merger agreement that would value Sprint at just above its closing market price of around .50 per share. Several things changed over the last few months that led Son to change his mind, including greater synergies from lower corporate taxes, an increased

Timotheus Höttges that is standing in the rain holding an umbrella: Tim Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York © Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID Tim Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York

Sprint Chief Marketing Officer Roger Sole testified that the company's strategy for enticing customers from competitors included slashing prices.

But he said the promotion’s "early success faded away pretty soon" due to customers having a negative experience with Sprint's network quality.

In an effort to show how competition lowered prices, the states presented evidence that when Sprint introduced an aggressive promotion in 2016 to offer phone plans comparable to those of Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, T-Mobile's MetroPCS prepaid brand immediately lowered prices on its plans.

a man that is standing in the rain holding an umbrella: George Cary, attorney for T-Mobile, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York © Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID George Cary, attorney for T-Mobile, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York

The evidence is central to the states’ argument that Sprint and T-Mobile as standalone companies force competition between carriers, providing the best deal for consumers.

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Business Day Shows. T - Mobile and Sprint said they expect regulators will approve the merger in the third quarter and the deal to close in the second half of this year. However, T - Mobile and Sprint still face an ongoing lawsuit from 13 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia.

So we believe Sprint / T - Mobile would struggle to convince Chairman Wheeler that their combination "We would assess a 35% probability that Sprint pursues an unprovoked merger of T - Mobile within Sprint / T - Mobile would have a harder time beating the FCC because it has a broader 'public interest'

Lawyers for the states also presented evidence suggesting Sprint wanted a deal so more money could be earned from each customer.

In WhatsApp messages from 2017 between Sole and Marcelo Claure, who was then CEO of Sprint, Sole suggested a merger with T-Mobile could raise Sprint's average revenue per user by $5.

In his deposition before the trial, Sole said he was simply offering a thought that price increases could happen "very far down the road."

The companies argue that the stronger T-Mobile that would result from the proposed $26.5 billion takeover would be better able to innovate and compete to reduce wireless prices. The case represents a break with the usual process of states coordinating with the federal government in reviewing mergers and generally coming to a joint conclusion.

The deal had been contemplated in 2014 during the Obama administration, but the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission urged the companies to drop it, which they did.

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T - Mobile and Sprint begin their trial against state attorneys general Monday to determine if they will be allowed to merge . German telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom is the majority owner of T - Mobile and Japanese wireless and technology company SoftBank owns more than 80% of Sprint .

“The T - Mobile and Sprint merger would not only cause irreparable harm to mobile subscribers nationwide by cutting access to affordable, reliable wireless Historical and current end-of- day data provided by FACTSET. All quotes are in local exchange time. Real-time last sale data for U.S. stock

The Trump administration signed off on it after the companies agreed to sell Sprint's prepaid businesses, popular with people with poor credit, to satellite television company Dish Network Corp.

Timotheus Höttges wearing an umbrella hat: Tim Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York © Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID Tim Hoettges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, exits the Manhattan Federal Court in New York

But setting up DISH as a wireless carrier is "patently insufficient to mitigate the merger's competitive harm," the states argued in a court filing.

Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges, whose company is the largest shareholder of T-Mobile, will testify on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Sheila Dang; Additional reporting by Brendan Pierson; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)

a sign on the side of a building: FILE PHOTO: A T-Mobile store is pictured in the Brooklyn borough of in New York © Reuters/Brendan McDermid FILE PHOTO: A T-Mobile store is pictured in the Brooklyn borough of in New York

Competition watchdog gives green light to doomed Seven-Prime deal .
Prime Media Group will face a doomed shareholder vote after the competition regulator cleared the takeover of the regional broadcaster by Kerry Stokes' Seven West Media.The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the merger was unlikely to substantially lessen competition, not even in terms of content and news, as Prime is the regional affiliate to Seven already and produces its own regional news bulletins on weeknights.

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