At least ten State Attorneys General are preparing to file lawsuits blocking the T-Mobile and Sprint merger, that has been held up in the Justice Department for many months now.
According to CNBC, the New York Attorney General is leading the pack. It's said that the Attorneys General were preparing to file the lawsuits on Tuesday. Meaning that it could happen any day now.
Additionally, the New York Attorneys General office has announced a press conference for this afternoon. Which likely means that it will announce the lawsuit to block this merger then.
The Justice Department has been on the fence on whether or not to approve of this merger. The FCC has already given the two companies, its blessing on this merger. So the last step is the Justice Department – and more specifically, the antitrust head, Makan Delrahim's blessing. The DOJ is unsure on whether to approve it or not, because it does not want to see the number of wireless carriers drop from four to three, like it would with this merger. The Justice Department wants more competition in the space, and not less.
Due to this, the Justice Department wants Sprint and T-Mobile to help create a fourth competitor in the market. This is where many rumors and reports have come out stating that it would be selling Boost Mobile, and making it the fourth player in the industry. It has also talked about selling off some of Sprint's spectrum, perhaps to Comcast or Charter. Interestingly enough, Dish was not part of this conversation. Dish already has a ton of spectrum that it needs to use, and this would make loads of sense for Dish to buy.
So far, nothing has been made official by the Justice Department, but it is possible that a decision could come this week. Boost Mobile's founder, Peter Adderton spoke with the Justice Department last week, and also stated on Twitter that he'd expect an announcement from the Justice Department on this merger, in the next ten days. Which means that we will likely hear something this week on the merger. Adderton did not say whether it would be approved or blocked.
If these attorneys general do file to block the merger, it's going to start a much longer process for Sprint and T-Mobile. It's not as simple as just blocking the merger. These attorneys general would need to go to court and plead their case for why the merger should be blocked. As we've seen with AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, that doesn't necessarily mean that the judge would side with the Justice Department either. So it's likely that Delrahim is also looking to make sure that they have a good case this time around, after losing in the AT&T case.
This is a $26 billion merger, with thousands of jobs at stake, as well as the future of the US 5G networks. Which Sprint and T-Mobile both say they need to merge to become a leader in the 5G space, worldwide. We should have some answers pretty soon on this matter, though.