The $26 billion merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint has finally been approved by the United States Justice Department. The deal was in the regulatory pipeline for last one year. The Federal Communications Commission has finally given a go-ahead for the merger.
The Justice Department wanted to retain four carriers and thus approved the deal only after Dish agreed to acquire Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and select spectrum assets. In other words, Dish is now the fourth major US carrier. As part of the deal, Dish gets 20,000 cell sites and retail locations. Furthermore, the satellite TV provider will be granted seven years of access to T-Mobile’s network while it builds its own network.
With this merger and accompanying divestiture, we are expanding output significantly by ensuring that a large amount of currently unused or underused spectrum is made available to American consumers in the form of high-quality 5G networks.- Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general of DOJ’s antitrust division.
T-Mobile and Sprint announced the merger in 2018. The carriers claimed that this would allow them to lower prices for customers and also help in deploying the 5G network. Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had said that he would be voting for the deal provided both the companies agreed to offer better wireless and broadband in rural areas. As of now, roughly 100 million consumers lack access to high-speed internet in rural America.
That being said, the merger is still one step away from happening. The state attorney general has filed a multistate lawsuit to stall the deal. According to them the merger would cause harm to mobile subscribers and will cut access to affordable wireless service for Americans. If states win the lawsuit, then the merger will be stalled indefinitely.[via TheVerge]