AT&T acquired DIRECTV. Charter merged with Time Warner. T-Mobile is trying to merge with Sprint. Small local providers get bought out by larger companies. It seems like we are constantly getting news of mergers and acquisitions within the telecommunications industry. What does this consolidation trend within the industry mean for you, the consumer? Here are some things to look out for when your telecommunications company merges with another company.
Prices go up. Of course, they do. Let’s keep it real. Take the recently announced merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint for example. T-Mobile assures us that rates won’t change. These assurances may help the deal get approved by regulators, and initially, rates probably won’t go up. They may even go down some. Initially. You may even get grandfathered in at old rates. But, what happens when price promotions expire and new rates become normalized? Costs get passed down to consumers. Investors will undoubtedly put pressure on the companies to increase profits. Your bill goes up.
When two telecommunications companies merge, sometimes the two different billing platforms don’t reconcile without some hiccups. Some common billing errors include being charged for disconnected or obsolete services and getting charged for a different customer’s service. It happens! Coding and labeling issues may arise. Account representatives who are under pressure to learn the new system may overlook such errors.
Service Quality Change
In every merger, there is a transition period where network maintenance must occur. Providers may overlook certain geographic areas as they spend more attention improving networks in locations deemed more profitable.
Innovation and New Deals
I don’t want to completely blast mergers and acquisitions. It’s not all doom-and-gloom for consumers. A lot of good things come out of these major business deals. For instance, one of the primary reasons for the T-Mobile and Sprint merger is to pool resources to advance 5G technology. Ultimately, these deals benefit consumers and result in better service, more advanced technology, and cool new packages.
Check to see what exciting deals providers offer in your area.