QR.bizNewsFederal judge approves T-Mobile and Sprint merger, dismisses antitrust lawsuit

Federal judge approves T-Mobile and Sprint merger, dismisses antitrust lawsuit

A USA federal judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the $26 billion merger between wireless carriers T-Mobile and SoftBank Group-owned Sprint, giving the Japanese conglomerate a much-needed boost after a series of investment flops.

The New York Federal District Court has ruled T-Mobile US and Sprint can finally go ahead and merge if they can still be bothered.

The lawsuit filed in June by state attorneys general challenged the $26.5 billion deal, which was previously approved by the Justice Department and FCC. Consumer Reports said the three remaining carriers would have fewer incentives to compete on prices and quality.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero, it seems, sided with the latter.

The merger between Sprint and T-Mobile is seen as important for the deployment of the fifth-generation wireless network in the US, a consideration that led the FCC to give its blessing, after the two companies promised to cover 97% of the country's population within three years of closing the deal.

T-Mobile executives took a victory lap following the ruling Tuesday morning.

T-Mobile and Sprint haven't renewed the merger agreement since it lapsed on November 1.

T-Mobile - which had to sell assets to Dish, including Boost Mobile, to win DOJ approval - had demanded Dish only be allowed to sell a 5 percent stake to any new partners, sources said.

Before the deal can actually close, however, the two companies still need the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which has until July 2020 to vote - and that deadline could be extended. While they do that, the New York Attorney General is already considering an appeal.

"Today's decision marks a loss for every American who relies on their cellphone for work, to care for a family member, and to communicate with friends", James said in a statement.

Schmidt, who approved the merger along with four other states and the Dept. of Justice, welcomed the news and discussed the benefits it will bring to Kansas.

After winning regulatory approvals for combining their wireless networks a year ago, T-Mobile and Sprint still had to contend with a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of several different states.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere: "We've said it all along: the New T-Mobile will be a supercharged Un-carrier that is great for consumers and great for competition".

T-Mobile added that it is committed to delivering the same or better rate plans at the same or better prices for at least three years, including 5G. But on February 11 a USA federal judge ruled in favor of letting the merger proceed. The combined company, which will operate under the T-Mobile name, will have a regular monthly subscriber base of about 80 million - in the same league as AT&T Inc., which has 75 million subscribers, and Verizon Communications Inc., which has 114 million.

Under the settlement, Dish will be able to access T-Mobile's network for seven years as DIsh builds out its own 5G network.

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