It looks like the Justice Department has had enough of T-Mobile and Sprint's crap.
According to a report out of CNBC, the DOJ is planning to sue to block this merger, if the two parties can't settle it by next week. Which would include selling off some assets to Dish Network, to satisfy the Justice Department's demands.
This merger has been in the hands of the Justice Department for months. After the FCC gave it the green light, the DOJ's antitrust division has been taking its sweet time looking at the merger, and had some demands before it would be approved. Which included T-Mobile and Sprint creating a fourth carrier. That sounded daunting at first, but it really isn't. Since it can sell Boost Mobile to someone like Dish, and also sell some spectrum to them. Making Dish a pretty viable fourth carrier.
But as usual, Dish's Charlie Ergen has been dragging his feet in this deal, waiting to get the lowest possible price on Boost Mobile and this spectrum. Now the Justice Department has had enough. Reportedly giving T-Mobile and Sprint a week to settle the merger, or it is going to sue to block this merger.
The Justice Department had been on the fence about blocking this merger, but if T-Mobile had been able to create a fourth carrier, then it was prepared to approve it. But State attorneys general did not agree, a number of them filed to block this merger last month. Stating that the deal between T-Mobile and Sprint would cost US consumers around $4.5 billion per year, in extra charges and fees.
Right now, there is a July 29 deadline for the two companies to complete this deal, but that will likely get extended once again. This deal was first announced in April 2018. It's been more than a year since T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to merge and create a third competitive carrier to AT&T and Verizon. But it has had trouble getting approval from regulators. It has agreed to a number of concessions, but that appears to not be enough, to get this deal approved.
If the Justice Department does decide to sue to block this merger, that doesn't necessarily mean that the merger is dead in the water. As we saw with AT&T and Time Warner last year, it was sued to block that merger, but the Judge sided with AT&T. And the merger went through. During that trial, though, the Justice Department was not prepared at all. And looked like an absolute joke. So if they do block this merger, let's hope they did their homework this time.
T-Mobile and Sprint are still saying that they need this merger for the US to compete in the world of 5G. Without the merger, Sprint will likely need to liquidate in the next couple of years. Meaning that their spectrum (which is pretty valuable, particularly the 2.5GHz) will go to the highest bidder. And that will likely be Verizon. A carrier that already owns the most spectrum in the country.