WASHINGTON (Reuters) – T-Cell’s deliberate $26 billion acquisition of rival cell phone provider Dash Corp would add jobs and wouldn’t hike costs, high executives of the 2 firms testified earlier than a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: A smartphones with Dash emblem are seen in entrance of a display screen projection of T-mobile emblem, on this image illustration taken April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The 2 firms, that are the third- and fourth-largest wi-fi carriers, agreed to the all-stock deal in April, which they mentioned would create 1000’s of jobs and assist the US beat China to creating the subsequent era 5G cell community.

The chief govt of T-Cell, John Legere, instructed a Senate Judiciary Committee panel that oversees antitrust points that a lot bigger rivals AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc have benefits that the 2 firms can’t deal with with out combining.

“They’re much bigger and extra diversified, so that they have a considerably higher price construction,” Legere mentioned. “Verizon and AT&T have scale and asset benefits that even our greatest choices can’t overcome.” He mentioned it might be the “full annihilation” of the model if a mixed T-Cell-Dash acted like its bigger rivals.

Dash Govt Chairman Marcelo Claure mentioned the corporate had misplaced over $25 billion prior to now decade, its headcount fell from 40,000 in 2011 to 30,000 in 2017, and it has $32 billion in debt even because it grew to become web earnings constructive final yr for the primary time in 11 years.

“We nonetheless are unable to spend at parity with Verizon and AT&T, a lot much less catch as much as their earlier investments,” Claure mentioned.

The U.S. Justice Division and the Federal Communications Fee are reviewing the merger.

Gene Kimmelman, president and chief govt of Public Information, an advocacy group for an open web and reasonably priced communications instruments, instructed the committee that approving the merger “somewhat than forcing (T Cell) to struggle for purchasers, will get rid of the mixed firm’s must disrupt the market and create an incentive to keep up the prevailing market construction.”

Kimmelman mentioned international locations which have gone from 4 to 3 wi-fi carriers have increased costs for wi-fi service, citing Canada for instance.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, the rating Democrat on the committee, requested if the mixed provider may hike costs to simply beneath what AT&T and Verizon cost and retain clients.

Claure denied that. “To ensure that us to realize market share with the brand new community that’s going to be constructed we’re going to must decrease costs so as to have the ability to fill that capability,” he mentioned.

Legere mentioned the mixed firm would hike total employment, however acknowledged that there could be a discount of three,295 full-time retail jobs by way of 2024, together with different part-time and distributor job losses whilst he rejected union forecasts of a lot bigger losses.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Modifying by Leslie Adler