The long-gestating merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is one big step closer to actually happening. A US District judge has officially ruled that the merger of the two carriers should happen, over the objections of many state attorney generals.
CNBC reports that Judge Victor Marrero felt the states did not prove that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger would be bad for competition in the wireless carrier space. In its own press release, T-Mobile stated the judge’s decision was a “huge victory for this merger” and that the two carriers can now work on the final details to close the deal.
The merger, which is expected to cost T-Mobile $26 billion, was first announced nearly two years ago in April 2018. However, the deal has faced roadblocks along the way, including delays in getting approval from both the FCC and the FTC. Both the FTC and FCC finally gave their thumbs-up for the merger to happen in 2019. CNBC does point out that the deal still must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.
Assuming that happens, T-Mobile stated in the press release that its merger with Sprint could close as early as April 1, 2020. As part of the deal, Sprint will sell off its no-contract subsidiary carriers, including Boost Mobile. Sprint is already shutting down another one of its subsidiary carriers, Virgin Mobile USA.
The deal will also see Dish Network buy some of Sprint’s wireless spectrum for $5 billion. The goal is to create another major wireless carrier in the US that will cover 70% of the country with 5G support by June 2023.
T-Mobile claims its merger will Sprint will allow the carrier to have a 5G network that will cover 97% of the country three years after the deal closes. T-Mobile has also pledged to offer services such as free 5G support for police, fire departments, first responders and other similar groups. It has also pledged to offer free internet access to 10 million qualifying households.