One Year After T-Mobile/Sprint Merger, Fewer Stores, Fewer Jobs and Higher Prices

Monday, May 3, 2021

A year after the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, an analysis by the Communications Workers of America shows that T-Mobile has closed 24% of its corporate-owned stores. The number of authorized dealer stores has also declined by 11%.

  April 2020 April 2021 % Decline
Postpaid      
Corporate-Owned Stores 3,974 3,035 24%
Authorized Dealer Stores 4,979 4,428 11%
Total Postpaid 8,953 7,463 17%
       
Prepaid (Metro by T-Mobile)      
Total Prepaid 8,982 7,614 15%

Throughout the merger process, CWA raised concerns about the impact of the merger on workers and consumers, particularly the effect of store closures on jobs and wages. Despite T-Mobile’s claims that the merger would “create new jobs from day one,” employment at T-Mobile has dropped from about 80,000 at the time of the merger to just over 71,000 at the end of 2020.

In December 2018, The Economic Policy Institute and the Roosevelt Institute released a report on the labor market impact of the proposed merger, concluding that in the absence of counterbalancing collective bargaining agreements, the inevitable store closures would give wireless carriers increased monopsony power over wages.

T-Mobile has been squeezing its authorized dealers as well, cutting off dealers that are non-exclusive to Metro and requiring them to purchase all of accessories through the company. By preventing authorized dealers from selling less expensive alternatives, T-Mobile increases costs for consumers and drains profits from authorized dealers, many of which are small businesses that serve low-income communities.

The Consumer Price Index for wireless service has jumped by nearly 5% since the T-Mobile/Sprint transaction closed, the first sustained increase in at least six years.

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