T-Mobile U.S. Inc. announced on April 1 that it officially completed the long-awaited merger with Sprint Corporation to create the New T-Mobile. T-Mobile U.S. Inc is the parent company of the new combined company, and as such, the new company will operate under the brand name New T-Mobile. The New T-Mobile network plans to:
- Roll out T-Mobile’s 5G network to 99% of Americans within 6 years.
- Provide 5G coverage to 90% of rural America, with speeds averaging 50Mbps.
- Have 14x more network capacity within 6 years.
Moreover, the New T-Mobile will continue to offer free 5G access to all customers.
Pros & Cons of the T-Mobile & Sprint Merger
This T-Mobile and Sprint merger has rocked the world of telecommunications, and as with any major changes, there are some solid advantages and disadvantages to T-Mobile’s acquisition. Here are the pros and cons at a glance:
- Current customers don’t have to take any action.
- Sprint customers can now roam on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network in areas where Sprint doesn’t have LTE.
- 5G access is free for all customers.
- Plan prices will remain the same (or be better) for at least three years.
- Expanded 5G network and 5G speeds.
- Sprint customers with the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G will receive 5G coverage on T-Mobile’s 5G network.
- Stress surrounding the unknown.
- The merger creates less competition and could ultimately drive plan prices up.
What Existing Customers Need to Know
As of now, nothing is changing for existing T-Mobile and Sprint customers. If you are a current customer, your plan price and features will remain the same for three years. After that, who knows what will happen? But presently, you don’t need to take any actions—you will still manage your account just as you did before.
One change that we will start seeing this summer is Sprint stores being rebranded to T-Mobile. T-Mobile is training their store employees to be able to help legacy T-Mobile and Sprint customers, as well as new T-Mobile customers. Your Sprint bill and any communications will likely also start coming from T-Mobile instead of Sprint.
Here are some additional details about the T-Mobile and Sprint merger you should know:
- Current Sprint customers with compatible phones now have access to T-Mobile’s LTE network when outside of Sprint’s coverage area. (It may take three years for customers to be able to access both networks simultaneously.)
- The New T-Mobile will offer cheaper phone plans.
- Both carriers will be branded T-Mobile.
- The New T-Mobile will create a new 5G network.
Furthermore, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required the following changes:
- T-Mobile will sell its interest in the Dish Network.
- Sprint will sell its MVNO, Boost Mobile.
What are the New T-Mobile & Sprint Plans?
For three years, your phone plan and features will remain exactly the same as they were prior to T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint. That means if you have unlimited data and hotspot capability on your current plan, you will continue to enjoy unlimited data and mobile hotspot. According to the New T-Mobile, you can expect even lower plan prices in the future.
However, if you’re not a current Sprint customer and want to switch to one of the carrier’s plans, you’ll need to be quick. As T-Mobile begin phasing out the Sprint brand, we’re expecting new customers to be directed to T-Mobile’s plans. We’re unsure whether Sprint’s current plans will be phased out for new customers or not.
Implications for the Industry
Although the New T-Mobile claims that the acquisition and lowering of plan prices will drive prices down across the cell phone industry, many industry experts disagree—in fact, they claim that less competition among cell phone companies could result in more expensive plans, aka a higher phone bill for you. We see this with Canadian telecommunications companies—there are three major networks in Canada, Bell, Rogers, and TELUS, and the plans offered by these carriers tend to be far more expensive than comparable plans offered by U.S. carriers.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, T-Mobile launched its new cheap prepaid phone plans early in order to help budget-minded customers stay connected during this stressful time. The plans aren’t temporary, though—they have become permanent fixtures in the T-Mobile plan line-up. These plans, called the T-Mobile Connect Plans, will run you $15/month for 2GB of data or $25/month for 5GB of data, taxes and fees not included. The T-Mobile Connect Plans are cheap enough to compete with plans from MVNOs, which have historically offered less expensive plans than the major carriers. We aren’t sure how the launch of these new plans will play out—T-Mobile could very well put many MVNOs out of business with their affordable pricing or MVNOs will respond by dropping their prices even lower (which frankly seems infeasible).