The recent merger approval between AT&T and Time Warner gives Sprint and T-Mobile confidence that their own merger might be successful, according to Sprint CEO Michel Combes. Speaking for an interview, Combes says that the presiding judge in that prior case has effectively shown judicial understanding that the structure of the industry has changed. That reasoning has also served as an underpinning for the reasons behind the merger attempt by the two carriers. The service providers argue that a merger will bolster the new company against increasing competition in the cell service industry. That's included projects from companies that are typically outside of that market such as Google, Comcast, and Facebook. Meanwhile, a merger will also allow for more efficient growth and investment in the upcoming switch to 5G networks.
However, the potential tie-up has not gone without scrutiny from the Department of Justice (DOJ), which may also be looking to reinforce its stance on mergers following its loss in the AT&T case. The DOJ has reportedly already been in contact will smaller carriers working off of the network equipment and licensing bands from their larger counterparts. There's no information available about what those discussions might encompass and it isn't clear whether or not the department will seek to halt the merger entirely. However, some of those MVNOs have confirmed that contact was made and that does seem to indicate that the possibility is at least up for consideration. If pursued, that could result in limitations being placed on the merger or it could ultimately be approved or disapproved outright but a decision on that may take up to a year to be reached.
In the meantime, the nation's third and fourth largest carriers have continued to actively address their employees amidst worries about the number of jobs that might be lost within both companies following a merger. Sprint, for its part, has organized a series of tours which feature talks from Combes concerning the importance of scaling the company to meet competitive growth. That's reportedly been tempered with statements about the importance of employment figures in areas where the company has a strong presence. For now, those talks have taken place in Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.