Partnerships / Acquisitions

New York To Let T-Mobile, Sprint Merger Go Forward

The merger of cell phone giants T-Mobile and Sprint won't face a challenge from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who said Sunday (Feb. 16) she won't be appealing the decision from the federal judge, according to the Wall Street Journal.

James' reasoning was that they wanted to work with both companies moving forward, to ensure that customers get the best service and pricing available under the merger. She said in a statement that she wants to work to make sure networks are established throughout the state and that jobs that pay well are created there.

The long-planned merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been in talks for years. Last week, a Manhattan federal judge ruled in favor of it. The combination was a $26 billion all-stock merger that would create a single cell phone carrier company whose size could rival that of AT&T and Verizon.

A coalition of states led by New York and California has been attempting to block the deal, arguing that only having three major cell phone carriers in the U.S. would have detrimental effects for customers, particularly hurting those with low-cost rate plans.

Subject to some conditions, the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission signed off on the combination. But some states were unconvinced. Last December, they spent two weeks facing off against the carrier companies in a trial, which allowed the states to question the decisions of the government.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Tuesday that their coalition of states would fight as long as it had to in order to protect innovation and keep rates competitive and low.

There are still more obstacles facing T-Mobile and Sprint, however — the Californian independent public utilities commission and the district court in Washington are still reviewing the combination.

And the companies are still negotiating some changes to the merger agreement from April of 2018, which would close by April of this year, according to T-Mobile operating chief Mike Sievert.

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