NYT warns against Sprint purchase of T-Mobile

The rumored Sprint plan to purchase T-Mobile would likely harm the wireless industry and its customers, a New York Times editorial said this week.

The move “would reduce competition in an important industry that already has too little of it,” according to the editorial published in Wednesday’s paper.

Currently, the U.S. wireless industry is composed of four major players: Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, with the latter two controlling most of the market.

In 2011, AT&T attempted to purchase T-Mobile but faced significant opposition from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, which cited a need for competition in the wireless industry.

While advocates of the rumored Sprint purchase say the deal could help T-Mobile and Sprint compete with AT&T and Verizon, others worry that it could further reduce competition in the wireless space, including the editorial board of The New York Times.

“The main issue is whether consumers would benefit from the acquisition, and the evidence suggests they would not,” the editorial board wrote.

The editorial pointed to recent T-Mobile decisions that have forced its competitors to change their business models, including less expensive cellphone plans, lower international roaming charges and allowing customers to switch to the company’s competitors.

“It is hard to imagine that any cellphone company would have been as aggressive as T-Mobile if the administration had allowed AT&T to buy the company,” the editorial said, urging regulators to “look closely at any proposal that would reduce competition in the wireless business.”