The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) just approved the merging of the companies T-Mobile USA and Sprint, with a set of requirements. The requirements include – primarily – a “package of divestitures to Dish.” In divesting with DISH, DISH will (according to DOJ) be able to enter the USA as the Forth Nationwide Facilities-Based Wireless Competitor.
This agreement will apparently “expedite deployment of high-quality 5G for American consumers.” Though we’ll believe that when we see it! The settlement came immediately after a civil antitrust lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed transaction.
It’s not as if they’d not all seen this coming. This bit was more of a “let’s agree to this first, then we’ll do the suit, then we’ll settle” sort of thing. This is evidenced by the DOJ’s assertion that “At the same time, the Department and the Plaintiff States filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the Department’s and the Plaintiff States’ competitive concerns.”
The suit was filed by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division and the offices of five state Attorneys General. These states included Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
The agreement basically says that Sprint must divest a bunch of elements to Dish. The settlement says that the merged T-Mobile and Spring must “divest Sprint’s prepaid business, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint prepaid, to Dish Network Corp., a Colorado-based satellite television provider.”
T-Mobile and Sprint are also required to “make available to Dish” a whopping 20k cell sites and “hundreds of retail locations.” T-Mobile must also “provide Dish with robust access to the T-Mobile network for a period of seven years.” This period is put in place in order for Dish to build its own 5G network in the United States.
Stay tuned as we learn more about this merger and the fallout that’ll inevitably come after. This merger was a long time coming. Now that it’s here, what does it mean for current and prospective consumers and patrons? We shall see!