Saturday, 29 February 2020

Judge approves Sprint–T-Mobile merger

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 11 February 20

After a great deal of waiting and speculation, the $26.5 billion gets the all-clear

The merger of the US’s third and fourth largest operators has been in the works for nearly two years now.   A coalition of attorney generals from 13 states and the District of Columbia opposed the merger in June, arguing that the reduction in competition would result in inflated prices for customers. Sprint and T-Mobile…

The merger of the US’s third and fourth largest operators has been in the works for nearly two years now.
 
A coalition of attorney generals from 13 states and the District of Columbia opposed the merger in June, arguing that the reduction in competition would result in inflated prices for customers. Sprint and T-Mobile, for their part, argue the opposite: that the merger would create jobs and increase competition between themselves and their rivals AT&T and Verizon. 
 
Despite the protests, the legislative process has been creeping forward, with the deal receiving approval from the Department of Justice last July and then from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in November. 
 
Today, Judge Victor Marrero has finally approved the merger, which FCC chairman Ajit Pai has hailed as a "big win for American consumers".
 
 
 
 
The deal was previously modified to appease the Department of Justice, who ruled that Sprint must sell Boost Mobile, its largest prepaid subsidiary, to Dish Network, and T-Mobile must provide Dish with network access for seven years, so that Dish can construct a 5G network. 
 
In effect, this condition will make satellite company Dish Network an additional player in the mobile space, but that alone was not enough to quell the storm of anti-trust protests. However, it would appear that it was enough for Judge Marrero.
 
“Dish as a new entrant will constitute a substantial incentive to competition,” said Marrero.
 
The deal is worth a whopping $26.5 billion.
 
The newly formed company, still to be called T-Mobile, will have over 100 million customers. While this will still put it behind AT&T and Verizon, it significantly closes the gap and makes them a serious player in the US’s 5G race. 
 
In this regard, the new conglomeration will use T-Mobile’s low-band and millimetre-wave spectrum, as well as Sprint’s mid-band spectrum. 

 
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