$26.5 Billion T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Approved by DOJ
The $26.5 billion T-Mobile-Sprint merger is finally coming to fruition after receiving the okay from the Department of Justice on Friday. As part of the deal, Sprint agreed to sell its prepaid wireless business to Dish Network, creating a fourth wireless carrier. But for the moment, there remain only three wireless mobile carriers: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The “New T-Mobile” will now consist of 135.8 million subscribers—still behind No. 1 Verizon (158 million) and No. 2 AT&T (155.7 million), but not by much.
While an official timeline has yet to be announced, Sprint subscribers can expect to see the brand slowly transition into T-Mobile under the leadership of T-Mobile executives. As for Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint prepaid customers, they will now fall under the new Dish Network. T-Mobile subscribers won’t notice a significant change just yet as the two companies work to integrate the network technologies and assets of both into one, united carrier.
Once T-Mobile absorbs Sprint’s network, users will likely notice a boost in their coverage and speed. With these additional resources, T-Mobile will also be better positioned to implement its long-awaited 5G technology. As part of the agreement, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the “New T-Mobile” would begin aggressively rolling out 5G, reaching 97 percent of the US population within three years and 99 percent in six years. For rural areas, T-Mobile said it would reach 85 percent coverage in three years, and 90 percent in six years. This push will undoubtedly create pressure for Verizon and AT&T to focus on their own 5G efforts. The DOJ also didn’t forget about where Dish stands in the 5G race, and made sure to provide the new carrier with the tools necessary to compete with the other three carriers.
Terms of the settlement as announced by the DOJ state:
T-Mobile and Sprint must make available to Dish at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations. T-Mobile must also provide Dish with robust access to the T-Mobile network for a period of seven years while Dish builds out its own 5G network.
T-Mobile has also agreed to keep its prices steady for the next three years. The merger is expected to wrap up by the second half of this year – just in time for the highly anticipated rollouts of several new phones. Samsung, Apple, and Google are expected to be coming out with new devices, and T-Mobile may very well use the hype surrounding their launch as an incentive to obtain new subscribers.