Today, the United States Department of Justice finally issued a decision related to the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger. In a statement, the department approved of the merger, giving the green light for the two companies to join together to create a new, larger carrier.
Although waiting for this decision was the biggest roadblock of the deal, there are two other hurdles T-Mobile and Sprint need to jump through before they are totally in the clear. The first is to get official approval from the FCC. This should be no problem since FCC Chairman Ajit Pai already confirmed he would support the deal. With that in mind, it’s likely just a matter of getting official paperwork done.
The second hurdle could be a bit more troublesome, which is the lawsuit filed by several state attorneys general intending to block the deal. With the approval of the DoJ in hand, that lawsuit now has less of a leg to stand on — but it’s still a threat. If the lawsuit goes to court and holds, the deal will need to be dismantled.
However, it is very likely T-Mobile and Sprint will immediately start to move forward with the merger (once the FCC issues official approval) and then deal with the lawsuit later. It is unlikely T-Mobile or Sprint consider the lawsuit to be a major threat now that the DoJ is on board.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re a T-Mobile or Sprint customer at the moment, you might be wondering what this means for you. For now, nothing changes — it will likely be months before any significant, customer-facing changes come about from this deal.
Eventually, T-Mobile will absorb Sprint, keeping the T-Mobile name. Sprint customers will automatically become T-Mobile customers while current T-Mobile customers will see very little changes at first.
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If you are not a T-Mobile or Sprint customer, this will most likely be good news for you as well. As of today, there are four major wireless carriers in the U.S.: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, in order from largest to smallest. The problem now is that Verizon and AT&T are both so much larger than either T-Mobile or Sprint, so rather than all four companies competing against each other, it’s more like Verizon vs AT&T in one corner and T-Mobile vs Sprint in another corner.
This merger will make the “new” T-Mobile large enough to actually compete with Verizon and AT&T. This could, theoretically, give more competition in the wireless market and cause prices to go down and perks to go up.
There is also the potential that this could stagnate the market and cause the opposite effect. However, if that does happen, it will be years off. At first, there is every reason to believe that this merger will be good for consumers.
Additionally, part of the deal includes a sale of assets to Dish, which will go on to create a new, smaller carrier. This further supports the idea that this merger will, in the end, be good for consumers.