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US: T-Mobile and Sprint merger approved by Justice Department

 |  July 26, 2019

The United States Justice Department has approved the $26 billion merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint. After over a year in regulatory limbo, the merger received the green light from the last federal agency to hold out, with the Federal Communications Commission already signaling that it will approve the deal.

The Justice Department finally approved the deal after Dish reached an agreement with the carriers to acquire Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid business, and “certain” spectrum assets. This will position Dish as the replacement fourth major US carrier that will be lost once T-Mobile and Sprint merge. The two companies will be required to provide at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations to Dish, and the satellite TV provider will also get unfettered access to T-Mobile’s network for seven years as it works to build out a mobile network of its own using the newly acquired assets and spectrum that Dish has held on to for years.

“With this merger and accompanying divestiture, we are expanding output significantly by ensuring that large amount of currently unused or underused spectrum are made available to American consumers in the form of high quality 5G networks,” Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s antitrust division, said.

Both the FCC and the Justice Department are required to approve the deal before it can move forward. The deal is likely to be approved by the FCC, although the official vote has yet to take place. In May, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced that he would be voting to approve the deal after the companies made new promises to provide greater wireless and broadband access to rural areas.

Full Content: The Verge, DOJ

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