U.S. Justice Department approves Sprint, T-Mobile merger

U.S. Justice Department approves Sprint, T-Mobile merger

"With this merger and accompanying divestiture, we are expanding output significantly by ensuring that large amounts of now unused or underused spectrum are made available to American consumers in the form of high quality 5G networks", said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the DOJ's Antitrust Division.

The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-biggest USA carriers, just got approval from the United States government today, clearing its biggest hurdle yet.

"This insane curve ball with us being able to stay at four cell phone providers - with the Dish Network folks coming in and creating a fourth competitor - is going to be great", he says. A group of US state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in federal court in NY to block the merger on antitrust grounds, arguing that the proposed deal would cost consumers more than $4.5 billion annually. Verizon and AT&T shares also climbed. Sprint and T-Mobile are coming together in a $26.5 billion mega-merger.

T-Mobile proposed to acquire Sprint in April 2018 and the regulatory process has been stick in limbo since then.

"Sprint is a significantly stronger competitor today than a new fourth competitor could be for the foreseeable future", he said. But those are some major concessions for T-Mobile and Sprint, though Dish is clearly the victor here. No other U.S. carrier has that, which is why AT&T and Verizon are pushing millimeter-wave 5G so hard.

Dish Networks - a current provider of satellite TV - has become a third wheel in this deal, and has been critical in getting the deal resolved.

On top of the $10 billion Dish said it will spend to build the network, it needs another $10 billion to fund operating losses, New Street said. The companies have argued that bulking up will mean a better next-generation "5G" wireless network than either could build on its own. Between T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint, there are a lot of retail stores that are really close to each other, and will be redundant once this goes through. If the company doesn't live up to its promises, it will face billions of dollars in penalties.

If approved, the deal would combine two companies with different personalities and different reputations for how they treat customers.

Pai said he will present a draft order "soon" that would follow the DOJ's filings.

Dish is largely a company with a declining satellite-TV business. Dish will also purchase a chunk of valuable wireless airwaves from Sprint. He said the agreement "will advance USA leadership in 5G and protect competition".

The company disclosed that it spent $222 million on merger-related costs in the quarter, up from $41 million a year ago.

"We've been here before", said Ergen. Dish is requesting it be allowed until June 14, 2023 to deploy a nationwide 5G broadband network covering at least 70% of the US population. But, customers loved the disruption we brought to the marketplace with innovations such as a 100-percent digital experience, local-into-local broadcast, the DVR and ad-skipping. Sprint will also sell 14 MHz of its 800 MHz spectrum for an additional Dollars 3.6 billion to Dish, three years after the merger closes in order to allow a transition period. If the company fails, it owes the government as much as US$2.2 billion.

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