T-Mobile merges with Sprint in a $26 billion deal to take on Verizon
Two US wireless providers T-Mobile and Sprint are merging together in a bid to take on Verizon. A federal judge in New York has approved the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint in a controversial decision Tuesday, according to a report from Wall Street Journal. The merger will usher in a new balance of power in the U.S. wireless market and test whether three giants will compete as aggressively for cellphone users as four unequal players once did.
The deal will create a wireless carrier with more than 100 million customers, which the companies have claimed will provide stronger competition especially on 5G to bigger rivals AT&T and Verizon. Consumer advocates and the AGs that sued to block the deal argue that it will reduce choice and lead to higher consumer prices.
The merger approval came after a New York federal judge shot down a lawsuit from several U.S. state attorneys general that sought to block the combo. The judge sides with the telecom giants over a coalition of state attorney generals who were suing to block two of the largest wireless carriers in the U.S. from combining. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero concluded the deal, worth $26 billion when it was struck two years ago, wasn’t likely to substantially lessen competition, and rejected the main arguments by a group of states seeking to block the deal as anticompetitive.
Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission argued the the exact opposite, called the deal a “big win for consumers.” Pai said T-Mobile has committed to bringing 5G to “97% of our nation’s population within three years and 99% of Americans within six years,” especially in rural areas.
“This transaction represents a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States, put critical mid-band spectrum to more productive use, and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans,” Pai explained.