The US Department of Justice just signed off on the biggest telecommunications deal in many years. This was the last real hurdle in the $26 billion merger of Sprint into T-Mobile.
The carriers had to agree to sell off some assets to win this approval. Still, every iPhone owner who’s a Sprint customer will soon be hearing from T-Mobile.
Merger is all about 5G
T-Mobile and Sprint convinced the DoJ that this deal was necessary for them to build a 5G network that can compete with the one’s being created by Verizon and AT&T. “The settlement will facilitate the expeditious deployment of multiple high-quality 5G networks for the benefit of American consumers and entrepreneurs,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission signed off on the merger already. The rest of the Commissioners are expected to approve his decision.
The combination will be called New T-Mobile, and will be headed by John Legere, T-Mobile’s current CEO. It will have a customer base nearly the size of AT&T’s, but not as large as Verizon’s.
“Our goal was to ensure that the DOJ’s concerns were addressed while enabling us to deliver on every aspect of the synergies we promised to unlock… and we did it,” said Legere. “We cannot wait to get to work bringing this pro-consumer, pro-competition New T-Mobile 5G network to U.S. customers from coast to coast!”
Dish Network becomes the fourth-largest US carrier
The DoJ required a “substantial divestiture package” to agree to this deal. Most notably, Sprint’s prepaid business is being sold to Dish Network. That includes Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid.
Dish is also acquiring “certain spectrum assets,” and “20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations.” Plus, Dish will get “robust access” to T-Mobile’s network for seven years.
Clearly, Dish intends to become a force in the pre-paid phone market. Thanks to this deal, it’s becoming the fourth-largest wireless US carrier.
The proposed agreement still needs approval by a federal district court, but with both carriers, the DoJ and the Attorneys General for five states all agreeing, this is very nearly pro forma.
Source: US Department of Justice