January 28, 2019 / 10:48 PM / a month ago

House panels to hold joint hearing on Sprint, T-Mobile merger

FILE PHOTO - The Sprint logo is displayed on a a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. House panels will hold a joint hearing on Feb. 13 on T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp’s proposed $26 billion merger and its potential impact on consumers.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee will hold a joint hearing to “examine the merger’s potential impacts on consumers, workers and the wireless industry,” the committees said in a statement on Monday. Both T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere and Sprint Chairman Marcelo Claure have agreed to testify.

“A merger between T-Mobile and Sprint would combine two of the four largest wireless carriers and the carriers with the largest numbers of low-income customers,” said senior Democrats on the two panels and two subcommittees. “We look forward to examining this merger from the perspective of what is in the best interest of consumers and hardworking people.”

The U.S. Senate held a hearing on the merger in June.

Last month, the companies won backing for the merger from two national security reviews, clearing key hurdles in their tie-up bid.

The deal got a nod from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, as well as the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department -collectively referred to as Team Telecom.

T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers, said Team Telecom, in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, indicated it had no objections to the merger after reviewing “potential national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues.”

T-Mobile has previously said it expects the deal to close in the first half of 2019. The U.S. wireless carriers still need to win antitrust approval from the Justice Department and the FCC.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler

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