Sprint and T-Mobile want you to believe that this merger would be a win for rural consumers.
But the facts say otherwise.
Myth: Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum would help T-Mobile build out rural coverage.
Fact: Mid-band spectrum, like the kind of airwaves Sprint owns, has trouble carrying data long distances – a must-have for rural networks. In fact, T-Mobile could build out to rural areas today with its significant holding of 600 MHz spectrum. But it has chosen not to; and this transaction does not change that calculus.
Myth: Sprint and T-Mobile say the deal will allow them to build a rural 5G network.
Fact: A rural 5G network would require a significant fiber-optic network to connect towers and other facilities – an expensive undertaking that Sprint and T-Mobile don’t account for in their promises of better rural service.
Myth: This merger won’t undermine current service for rural consumers.
Fact: Many rural and regional mobile carriers currently have mutually-beneficial agreements with Sprint that allow their customers to access the Sprint voice and data networks when roaming. But T-Mobile has repeatedly declined to commit to upholding those deals if it takes over Sprint, which means rural consumers could pay higher prices or lose coverage altogether.
The reality is Sprint and T-Mobile are making false promises to regulators and rural communities to try to win their support for the merger. But rural consumers, just like the rest of the country, would face higher prices.