Published: Wed, February 12, 2020
Tech | By Anita Cain

What they're saying: Judge blesses T-Mobile-Sprint deal

What they're saying: Judge blesses T-Mobile-Sprint deal

Just as had been rumored earlier this week, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, rejecting the antitrust concerns raised by a group of states, including California and NY.

"Judge Marrero's decision validates our view that this merger is in the best interests of the US economy and American consumers", said Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure.

T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint today announced that after receiving a favorable decision in Federal Court in NY the companies are now taking final steps to complete their merger to create the New T-Mobile.

Judge Marrero in his decision said he was not convinced the merged companies "would pursue anticompetitive behavior that, soon after the merger, directly or indirectly, will yield higher prices or lower quality for wireless telecommunications services". "The T-Mobile-Sprint merger will help close the digital divide and secure United States leadership in 5G".

The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint was first announced back in April 2018.

News of the approval sent Sprint stock soaring by 65 percent as the markets opened Tuesday, while T-Mobile rose almost 9 percent. T-Mobile also will be hosting Dish as an MVNO while it builds a greenfield 5G network.

Most Sprint customers will switch to T-Mobile, though the timeline for how long that will take isn't yet clear.

James and 13 other attorneys general argued the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint would further consolidate the wireless industry into just three major players that would be discouraged from competing for Americans' cellphone business. The deal was approved by federal officials past year, but a group of state attorneys general sued to block it on antitrust grounds. A utility board in California also has to approve the deal.

Sprint's 5G network is now in parts of nine cities, while T-Mobile says its version already could cover 200 million people. If the deal clears, Dish will instead focus its efforts on building a 5G network covering 20% of the country by June 2022 and 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023, with the effect of facing a $2.2 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury if it fails to live up to its commitments. We'll see if any of that happens and for how long those prices remain low.

The case was brought by the attorneys general of New York, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

The major USA wireless companies have all launched 5G networks and will continue rolling them out. The new Dish wireless network will start life with about 9 million subscribers. He'll be succeed by chief operating officer Mike Sievert, which should mean less curse words during T-Mobile's product announcements.

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