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Wireless Sector Merger Assessment

Wireless providers across markets have been squeezed between the massive investments required to keep up with burgeoning data traffic and competitive or regulatory pressures to keep prices low. Any potential telecom consolidation is politically sensitive and is given great scrutiny because regulators fear operators would raise prices amid lower competition. Additionally, across the U.S. and European markets, antitrust regulation has become more stringent over the last several years, especially focused on the tech and telecom sectors.

In this context, Sprint and T-Mobile saw an opening with what was perceived to be a more favorable regulatory regime and announced a merger in April 2018. This followed a failed previous merger attempt in 2013/14 and also AT&T’s failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile in 2011. The 3HA team performed an analysis similar to what the regulators would, to assess the impact of the merger on the competitive intensity and consumers. This helped assess the odds of approval for the merger. Additionally, the team delineates what if any conditions could be placed on the merging entities should it be approved.

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