One of the factors that makes the Net Neutrality fight so urgent is how little competition there is in the telcoms sector; it — like the whole modern economy is dominated by a few giant, top-heavy firms that are gobbling one another at speed.
So it's particularly terrible news that the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger is back on, after being scuppered by Sprint's owners, the Japanese investment fund Softbank. Softbank has reportedly come around on how much control they want to maintain post-merger, and so we're now being teed up for a wireless sector with even less competition.
The argument has long been that combining the two companies will create a more effective competitor for AT&T and Verizon. But that's generally not how competition, or the telecom sector, works. Reducing the total number of competitors almost always results in less incentive to compete. Even with T-Mobile's disruptive habits, the wireless sector already doesn't really try too hard to seriously compete on price. And part of the reason Sprint and T-Mobile have struggled is AT&T and Verizon's monopoly dominance of fiber-based cellular backhaul, something that won't change just because of M&A mania.
As they hunt for possible regulatory approval, Sprint and T-Mobile have previously tried to play on Donald Trump's facts-optional job creation claims, insisting the deal will somehow, magically, be a boon for employment. But analysts that rely on actual facts and hard data (remember them?) have argued the deal will be mammoth job killer:
The Competition-Killing Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Nobody Asked For Is Back On The Menu [Karl Bode/Techdirt]