Wednesday, 08 April 2020

Californian AG steps aside, Sprint–T-Mobile merger could close by April

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Thursday 12 March 20

The merger appears to be on the home straight as California Attorney General announces having reached a settlement with T-Mobile

Last month, Judge Victor Marrero announced the approval of the $26.5 billion Sprint–T-Mobile merger, ending months of ambiguity. For most of the US states that opposed the deal on an antitrust basis, the judge’s approval was enough to see them put aside their objections. Indeed…

Last month, Judge Victor Marrero announced the approval of the $26.5 billion Sprint–T-Mobile merger, ending months of ambiguity.

For most of the US states that opposed the deal on an antitrust basis, the judge’s approval was enough to see them put aside their objections. Indeed, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James, one of the most vocal critics of the proposed merger, was among those who announced they would not appeal Judge Marreno’s decision.

“After a thorough analysis, New York has decided not to move forward with an appeal in this case. Instead, we hope to work with all the parties to ensure that consumers get the best pricing and service possible, that networks are built out throughout our state, and that good-paying jobs are created here in New York,” she said last month.

The other ringleader, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra (pictured), has taken his time to mull the prospect of an appeal, until it was yesterday announced that he had reached a settlement with T-Mobile.

“Our coalition vigorously challenged the T-Mobile–Sprint telecom merger over concerns that it would thwart competition and leave consumers with higher prices,” said Becerra. “Most importantly, today’s settlement locks in new jobs and protections for vulnerable consumers, and it extends access to telecom services for our most underserved and rural communities.”

The terms of this settlement appear to be a commitment to make low-cost mobile plans available in the state for the next five years, as well as generating 1,000 jobs. This deal mirrors those of other states, such as Colorado, which reached agreements to withdraw their appeals before the judge’s ultimate decision.

With this settlement agreed, the final potential roadblock for the merger appears to have been removed, leaving little standing in the way of a smooth transition, at least from a legislative perspective.

Final approval of the merger is required from the Californian Public Utilities Commission, who will likely debate the matter (and are expected to approval the move) in April.

 

Also in the news:
UK budget to deliver £5bn broadband investment
Huawei survives Tory rebel vote
£1bn mast sharing deal for rural UK gets green light

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