Trending: Seattle shooting rattles tech companies and raises concerns about safety of city’s urban core
T-Mobile CEO John Legere poses with Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure before a Senate subcommittee hearing. (Twitter Photo)

The CEOs of T-Mobile and Sprint made the case for their merger before a Senate subcommittee Wednesday, in the first hurdle on their race to merge.

T-Mobile’s John Legere and Sprint’s Marcelo Claure continued to argue that their combined companies will help the U.S. remain competitive in 5G, the high-speed next generation of wireless technology.

“Nearly every business in America will be able to use 5G to revolutionize how they create and deliver goods and services,” Legere said during his prepared remarks. “To make this happen and deliver on the full promise of 5G, we need to combine Sprint and T-Mobile now.”

The two CEOs told the subcommittee that their merger would allow them to better compete with industry titans AT&T and Verizon. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) seemed a bit skeptical but not averse to the merger.

“Four competitors is not very many given all of the public use of cell phones,” she said. “But over the last few years, we’ve still seen vigorous competition in part because of the companies before us today. Much of this competition has been driven by the maverick nature of T-Mobile and Sprint.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was a bit more dubious. He asked, “What would make it more likely that they would compete instead of taking advantage of market share and raise prices?”

But the deal’s future is not up to Congress. The Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice will ultimately decide whether the merger goes through.

In April, T-Mobile and Sprint announced their intention to merge into a $146 billion company. If the deal goes through, the combined company will be called T-Mobile with Legere at the helm as CEO. If the companies receive regulatory approval, they expect the merger to close by the first half of 2019.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.