Large percentages of consumers don’t know what will happen if the deal is approved
Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll generally like their cellular providers – otherwise, why stay with them? But the poll also show consumers worried about the impact on them of the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, the third and fourth most popular cellular providers.
Asked about the top four cellular companies, T-Mobile and Verizon fare best with their users, though Sprint and AT&T aren’t far behind.
There is a lot of unsureness overall about what a merger would mean. Only 13% have heard a lot about it. And those who use Sprint or T-Mobile as their cellular provider are pretty much the same when it comes to paying a lot of attention. But eight out ten of the Sprint subscribers have heard at least something about the merger, making them the most attentive group.
The comparative happiness of T-Mobile subscribers makes them more concerned about the impact of the merger with Sprint. Sprint subscribers narrowly say consumers will be better off after the merger, while T-Mobile users aren’t so sure. More of them think consumers will be worse off.
One reason for this is the belief that rates will go up if the merger is approved. Just 7% think they could go down, while five times that percentage (36%) expect them to rise. Those who have heard a lot about the merger are not much different than the rest of the public. Sprint and T-Mobile have claimed the public will get lower rates, better coverage and innovation. Clearly, much of that message has yet to get through, even to their own customers.
The impact of the merger on innovation looks better to the public overall, and especially to current Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers, who are more likely to believe the merger will bring innovation.
But large percentages on nearly all these questions admit they don’t know what will happen if a merger is approved.