The poorest U.S. consumers would lose most from the proposed tie-up of wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp, according to consumer advocates who warned the combined company would raise fees for pre-paid and other low-cost mobile phone plans.


The Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department will likely review the proposed deal to determine if it would harm competition or if it is in the public interest.

While AT&T and Verizon dominate the U.S. wireless market overall, T-Mobile is the most popular among customers who make less than $75,000 per year, and Sprint's pre-paid brand Boost counts 83 percent of its users in that income range, according to data from Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence data.


In its antitrust review, the Justice Department would likely view the prepaid market as a separate market, and if they do the companies could be in for a tough review, experts said.

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