Judge approves $26B T-Mobile, Sprint merger

US District Court rejects lawsuit trying to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger

The merger may affect the continued availability of unlimited plans, since Sprint and T-Mobile fought hard on this turf, pushing AT&T and Verizon to compete.

But a group of state attorneys general tried to block the deal, arguing that having one fewer phone company would cost Americans billions of dollars in higher bills. (This month, Sprint is also folding its Virgin Mobile subsidiary into Boost in anticipation of handing off that business to Dish.) In addition, the New T-Mobile - as the combined carrier will be called - would offer access to some of its wireless spectrum for a few year while Dish builds out its network.

The U.S. mobile landscape is on track to look a whole lot different.

It certainly has the big ones in the form of the OKs from the FCC and Department of Justice.

Critics of the deal, including attorneys general from more than one dozen states, have expressed concern that such a deal would diminish competition in the market. T-Mobile CEO John Legere had seen President Donald Trump's election and his appointed regulators as a good opportunity to try again to combine, according to evidence during the trial. Another judge still needs to approve that settlement, a process that is usually straightforward but has taken longer than expected.

The most significant concession: T-Mobile and Sprint had to sell off some of their owned-and-operated subsidiaries to a third company that will become a new nationwide wireless carrier.

Before the deal can actually close, however, the two companies still need the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which has until July 2020 to vote - and that deadline could be extended. T-Mobile also will be hosting Dish as an MVNO while it builds a greenfield 5G network. Now Dish faces up to $2.2 billion in fines if it fails to create a 5G network that serves 70% of the country by 2023.

"While the mobile cores of traditional networks require large amounts of hardware that are costly to install and maintain, Dish plans to construct a "virtualized network" that relies more heavily on software and cloud-hosting services provided by potential partners like Amazon", the judge said in his decision. He is credited with helping to remake T-Mobile into an industry maverick, and pitched the Sprint takeover as a way to compete against industry leaders Verizon and AT&T.

But Marrero, the judge, said Sprint was "at best struggling to even tread water" and would not last as a national wireless competitor.

T-Mobile, based in Bellevue, Washington, is owned by the German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom.



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