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DOJ approves T-Mobile's mega-merger with Sprint

2019-07-26 17:43 by
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The United States Justice Department has approved the $26 billion merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint. After over a year in regulatory limbo, the merger received the green light from the last federal agency to hold out, with the Federal Communications Commission already signaling that it will approve the deal.

The companies also announced agreements with Dish Network Corporation in which the combined T-Mobile and Sprint, as the proposed New T-Mobile, will divest Sprint's prepaid businesses and Sprint's 800 MHz spectrum assets to Dish. Additionally, upon the closing of the divestiture transaction, the companies will provide Dish wireless customers access to the New T-Mobile network for seven years and offer standard transition services arrangements to Dish during a transition period of up to three years. Dish will also have an option to take on leases for certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by the New T-Mobile, subject to any assignment restrictions. The transactions with Dish are contingent on the successful closing of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint among other closing conditions.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said the combination of Sprint and T-Mobile "creates real pro-competitive efficiencies" by accelerating the rollout of 5G. That will especially help people in rural areas who have limited access to high-speed Internet, he said.

While T-Mobile applauded the settlement, promising it would create new jobs, lower prices, and better quality internet, consumer advocates long critical of the deal said it would accomplish precisely the opposite. Many characterized the deal as impossible to carry out given the government's own history of lax enforcement around megamergers.

The merger is not yet final. It must still be cleared by the Federal Communications Commission. And while a majority of that commission has signaled support for the deal, 13 states and the District of Columbia have also sued to block it from taking effect within their respective borders.

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