FILE – In this April 27, 2010 file photo, a woman using a cell phone walks past T-Mobile and Sprint … [+]stores in New York. Published reports say a group of state attorneys general are planning a lawsuit to block a $26.5 billion merger of wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. It’s an unusual step ahead of a decision by federal antitrust authorities. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
You may need to start paying close attention to your wireless bill as T-Mobile announcedthe closing of its $26 billion Sprint acquisition. These combined companies could raise fees for pre-paid and other low-cost mobile phone plans, now that they have control of more than 127 million customers. With the U.S. wireless market dominated by three national players instead of four, will this leave Black and low income consumers behind in the wireless carrier race?
The Breakdown You Need To Know:Low cost mobile phone plans are the exact types of plans Sprint and T-Mobile had previously been driving down, according toCultureBanx. The median household income for African Americans was just over $39,000 in 2016, putting Black people directly in T-Mobile’s sweet spot among customers who make less than $75,000 per year. Sprint’s pre-paid brand Boost counts 83% of its users in that income range, according to data from Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence data. To obtain regulatory approval, T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to sell off certain assets, including Sprint’s prepaid wireless business, to the satellite TV service Dish.
Letitia James, the New York attorney general who was a key plaintiff in the case to stope this merger, had argued that the dealwould cost subscribers at least $4.5 billionannually, according to the New York Times.
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