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T-Mobile To Offer Free and Low-Cost Services If Sprint Merger Is Approved

November 7, 2019, 5:20 PM UTC

T-Mobile announced a series of new low-cost and free mobile services it would offer if regulators allow it to merge with Sprint.

The plans include free 5G service for all first responders in the country and a $15 per month wireless plan for any customer. T-Mobile also committed to offer free home Internet service to up to 10 million low-income households that currently lack connectivity.

The offers, made in a statement by CEO John Legere and president Mike Sievert, would only be available if T-Mobile combines with Sprint. The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department have approved the $26 billion deal, but dozens of state attorneys general have gone to court to block the merger.

Debate over the possible combination of the third and fourth-largest wireless carriers hinges on whether consumers would see higher or lower prices. The AGs’ lawsuit argues that reducing the number of major wireless carriers to three would harm competition. A trial in the case is slated to begin next month.

T-Mobile’s Legere said the new offers proved that the combined companies would enhance competition. “This is the kind of work we’ll do as the new T-Mobile,” he said.

The proposed $15 monthly service, called T-Mobile Connect, would include 2 GB of data per month and unlimited texting and voice calls. Each year that customers stay on the plan, they’ll get an additional 500 MB per month added to their data allowance. A similar 2G plan from T-Mobile currently costs $30 per month and other carriers charge from $24 to $35 for entry-level plans, analyst Walt Piecyk of LightShed Partners noted on Twitter.

Free service for first responders would apply to all public and non-profit U.S. state and local police, and fire and EMS agencies for at least 10 years.

The combining carriers had already promised not to raise prices for wireless service for at least three years and to roll out new, faster 5G networks to cover much of the country in the next few years.

The three new offers announced on Thursday will only go forward if T-Mobile is allowed to merge with Sprint. “Everything we announced today is dependent on the massive capacity expansion of the new T-Mobile,” Sievert said.

“We don’t want this to sound like a threat,” Legere added. The offers require the combined capacity of the networks of T-Mobile and Sprint. Without the added capacity “we couldn’t, nobody could” make such offers, he said.

Legere said he had discussed the new offers with some of the attorneys general, without revealing details of the talks.