Feb 13, 2019

Top T-Mobile and Sprint executives defend merger to Democrats

Sprint executive chairman Marcelo Claure (L) and T-Mobile CEO John Legere. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Executives from T-Mobile and Sprint defended their merger during a Wednesday hearing from critics who say that the $26 billion deal will cost customers more money and employees their jobs.

Why it matters: With Democrats in control of the House, the deal — which the companies argue will help America keep pace with foreign competitors on 5G — is under more scrutiny.

Details: T-Mobile CEO John Legere was aggressive in maintaining that costs would not go up for consumers and that the company would not employ fewer people after the merger than the two do now.

  • "Our opponents are wrong when they claim the merger will lead to higher prices," he said. "In fact, the opposite is true."
  • "Our critics are wrong about the impact on jobs," he added.

The big picture: Democrats' concerns about the impact of the merger ran the gamut.

  • Several lawmakers pushed the companies about how the planned merger would affect access for rural customers.
  • Lawmakers also said they were concerned that T-Mobile's plans to continue Sprint's Lifeline service, which subsidizes phone service for low-income people, were superficial. Legere said he was willing to make a commitment to the Lifeline program "in whatever form is needed."

What's next: The House Judiciary Committee had planned a hearing with the executives, but that was postponed — raising the prospect the executives will face another grilling from lawmakers in the future.

The bottom line: Congress has no say in merger approvals. Whether the deal goes through is up to the Department of Justice, Federal Communications Commission and state regulators.

Go deeper: Fight heats up over T-Mobile's $26 billion deal with Sprint

Go deeper

White House recommends Americans wear masks in public

New Yorker wearing a homemade face covering. Photo: Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The White House announced that the CDC is recommending Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said at a press briefing on Friday — emphasizing the guidance is "voluntary."

Why it matters: The use of face coverings could stop people who have the virus, whether they have symptoms or not, from spreading it further when they go out in public.

Trump calls to fill up more places with oil

President Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil, in the wake of rock-bottom prices and an ensuing economic collapse of the sector itself.

Driving the news: Trump’s comments came Friday during a televised portion of a meeting he hosted with industry CEOs to discuss ways to help the sector. It’s reeling from a historic drop-off in demand with the world shutting down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,083,084 — Total deaths: 58,243 — Total recoveries: 225,422Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 266,671 — Total deaths: 6,921 — Total recoveries: 9,445Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Wisconsin governor calls for last-minute primary election delay.
  4. Oil latest: The amount of gasoline American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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