The Department of Justice has just approved the $26 billion merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Where T-Mobile and its parent-company, Deutsche Telekom, will own a majority of the "New T-Mobile".
However, it's not all rainbows and puppy dogs for T-Mobile and Sprint. It still faces a lawsuit from 13 State Attorney's General.
To get to this point, Sprint had to divest Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and its prepaid phone businesses. The two companies will also be divesting some of their wireless spectrum to Dish Network, and also make at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail stores available to the company. Additionally, Dish will be able to use T-Mobile's network for seven years.
That's a lot of concessions that T-Mobile and Sprint had to make to get this approval. But the Justice Departments head of its antitrust division, Makan Delrahim stated that without these concessions, the merger would "substantially harm competition."
Delrahim also stated during the press conference that "Americans' access to fast, reliable and affordable wireless connectivity is critically important to our economy and to every American consumer and to their way of life."
While the Justice Department has agreed to the deal, the merger still faces a lawsuit consisting of 13 State Attorney's General. Though, Attorney's General from Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota have already signed on.
This merger cannot be finished until the case is resolved. The trial is expected to start on October 7. However, the date may be pushed back to December 9, with all of the changes announced today, for that merger.
So it's not a done deal just yet, after more than a year, T-Mobile and Sprint still have one last hurdle to jump through. However, with the changes announced today, some of these State Attorney's General, may decide to sign onto the deal. Given that there are a few more concessions here that we did not hear about in the past few weeks. Like the fact that T-Mobile has to make at least 20,000 cell sites available to Dish, as well as hundreds of retail stores.
Now the retail stores make sense. Between T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint, there are a lot of retail stores that are really close to each other, and will be redundant once this goes through. But those are some major concessions for T-Mobile and Sprint, though Dish is clearly the winner here. And this should be the push it needs to actually get its wireless network up and running.
Dish has been accumulating spectrum over the past decade, but has yet to do anything with it. Now with this extra spectrum from this deal between T-Mobile and Sprint, as well as the ability to use T-Mobile's network for the next seven years, there's no reason why Dish can't start building out its own network.
After the case is settled with the State Attorney's General, T-Mobile would still be the third largest carrier, but it would be much closer to the size of AT&T and Verizon. It will also have a boat load of 2.5GHz spectrum – if that isn't part of the spectrum that Sprint has to divest to Dish – which is going to be great for 5G.