Overland Park residents wonder what potential Sprint/T-Mobile merger means for city

Posted at 6:59 PM, Apr 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-30 20:38:58-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Sprint and T-mobile are officially trying to merge — the company CEOs taking full stage Monday morning on several major television networks.

But what does that mean for patrons, coverage, your bill and jobs in the metro?

"I do have family who works at Sprint. We've been customers for a long time so hopefully, nothing changes," said Heidi Pardue, who said she had a friend who was let go from the corporate offices two months ago when Sprint cut about 200 jobs.

If the government approves the $26 billion merger, the company would be called T-Mobile, it would serve about 100 million accounts and be headquartered in Bellevue, WA. That's where T-Mobile is right now.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced its secondary headquarters would stay in Overland Park, but telecommunications advisors say there would be redundancies at the corporate and regional levels.

That means some are uncertain if jobs would be moved to Washington state or be lost. The "Uncarrier's" CEO saying the merger will lower costs for Sprint and T-Mobile customers.

"Faster speeds, bigger scale, bring lower prices," explained Legere.

Another goal is for the company to use the extra muscle and be the first to develop a 5G data network. 

"For urban areas and rural areas that are very much underserved," said President of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, Tracey Osborne.  She went on to say connectivity and access to the Internet is the second biggest concern if companies want to headquarter in a location.

The first is talent and talent retention. 

The 5G network could launch in 30 cities by the end of the year.

Sprint customers shared with 41 Action News they do not want their coverage to suffer.

"I've never thought great of T-mobile so that's a concern," said Pardue, who lives in Overland Park.

T-Mobile users said they don't want to lose incentives the company is known for.

"Free Netflix for the first three months. I got a free iPhone 8 from switching. That kinda made it worth it," said Geordan Gilbert, who lives in Harrisonville area. 

The deal still has to be approved by the FCC and Justice Department.

Red tape stopped a marriage between the two companies back in 2014.

Industry insiders from Samsung tell 41 Action News the new service will have to be cheaper to meet the government's scrutiny.

There is no word yet on what would happen with Sprint and T-Mobile subsidiary companies Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and Metro PCS. Tech experts explain lower costs on prepaid services could rise as 5G becomes available.