American mobile phone networks T-Mobile US and Sprint have agreed to a $26 billion deal to merge the two companies, creating what would be the largest mobile phone network in the country. Verizon Wireless currently holds the top spot with 116 million customers, with AT&T in second place with 93 million customers. If the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is allowed to go through, the new company would have 127 million customers.
T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, is expected to become the head of the new company. He is currently in Washington in an attempt to convince regulators and other government officials to allow the merger to take place. He even went so far as to stay at the Trump Hotel in Washington in an attempt to curry favor with President Trump, since the two have a history of battling each other on Twitter.
According to Legere, the proposed merger would create thousands of new jobs, lower prices, increase competition, and improve mobile phone service in rural areas. Legere also believes that the merger would enhance the US mobile phone network, as T-Mobile plans to invest tens of billions of dollars over the next few years in developing a next-generation 5G mobile phone network.
5G technology is expected to offer ten times the data transmission speeds of the current 4G technology that was first rolled out in 2009. It is widely believed that 5G technology will offer the extra bandwidth needed to create an interconnected “Internet of Things,” in which a whole host of consumer devices and even public services are interconnected.
Currently the United States lags behind China and South Korea in its development and implementation of a 5G network. T-Mobile will obviously tout the development of its 5G network in attempting to gain regulatory approval of the deal. Complicating matters, however, is the fact that German telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom will own 42 percent of the new company. Given the Trump administration’s stance on Germany with regard to monetary policy and trade issues, the administration may attempt to use approval of the merger as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with German and the European Union.