Bottom line: In order to receive the DOJ's blessing, the two companies must agree to help a new competitor enter the market to fill the void left by the merger of the nation's third and fourth largest providers. That new carrier will be satellite television provider Dish Network.

The Department of Justice on Friday approved the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile more than a year after it was first announced, albeit with a number of stipulations.

Per the settlement, the two companies will divest Sprint's prepaid business, including Sprint prepaid, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, to Dish. The satellite provider will also get certain spectrum assets and gain access to at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations. Furthermore, T-Mobile must also provide Dish with access to its network for a period of seven years in order to give the new carrier time to build out its own 5G network.

Dish will pay $1.4 billion for Sprint's prepaid interests and $3.6 billion for the spectrum assets.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said their goal was to ensure the DOJ's concerns were addressed while enabling them to deliver on every aspect of the synergies they promised to unlock, and they did it. "It may have taken longer than expected by some, but today's results are a win-win for everyone involved," he added.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced his support for the merger back in May.

The $26 billion mega merger between Sprint and T-Mobile was announced in April 2018 as a way for the two to put up a better fight against industry leaders Verizon and AT&T. The combined entity will have around 100 million subscribers and promises to offer lower prices and unmatched value while creating thousands of new jobs.

Legere / Claure photo via Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images