What just happened? A federal judge on Tuesday approved the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, paving the way for a new path in the wireless industry that’ll see three major players – and newcomer Dish Network – compete for subscribers.
Attorneys general from several states filed a lawsuit to block the deal, claiming it would limit competition and lead to higher prices for consumers. US District Court Judge Victor Marrero in his ruling said the merger was not reasonably likely to substantially lessen competition. Instead, it would likely “enhance competition in the relevant markets to the benefit of all consumers,” Marrero wrote.
T-Mobile and Sprint shortly after the ruling said they are now taking the final steps to complete the merger to create the New T-Mobile.
T-Mobile president and COO Mike Sievert said the deal could close as early as April 1, 2020. Sievert, as you may recall, will be replacing T-Mobile CEO John Legere when he steps down following the expiration of his contract in April.
Sprint’s share value is up more than 70 percent on the news while T-Mobile’s stock is trading up more than 10 percent.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he is pleased with the court’s decision, adding that the merger will help close the digital divide and secure the US’ leadership in 5G. The FCC voted along party lines to approve the merger in October.
The carriers still need to gain approval from the California Public Utilities Commission before closing in addition to completing other closing conditions. The companies said additional court proceedings are a possibility meaning this could drag on well past the proposed April 1 closing date.
5G courtesy Stephen Brasher, AP Images