According to anonymous sources speaking with CNBC, the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger could be in serious jeopardy. The sources allege that the antitrust staff at the U.S. Justice Department will eventually advise blocking the merger.
A final decision on the matter isn’t expected for a month, but this news — if true — doesn’t bode well for the $26 billion sale.
The final decision on the matter as far as the Justice Department is concerned now lies with political appointees, led by antitrust division chief Makan Delrahim. These high-ranking members will take this alleged recommendation of the antitrust staff into consideration when they make their final decision.
The antitrust staff fears that New T-Mobile — the potential company formed by combining T-Mobile and Sprint — will not work as hard to steal customers from primary rivals Verizon and AT&T. This could make the wireless industry less competitive overall and result in higher costs for consumers.
To its credit, T-Mobile has made various commitments and promises that these fears would not come to pass.
This news is in stark contrast to recent revelations that the Federal Communications Commission — headed by Ajit Pai — will support the merger. The FCC agreed to back the merger when T-Mobile agreed to sell off the Sprint company Boost Mobile after the merger is complete.
You can read more about the history of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger in our roundup below.