What you need to know
- Sprint and T-Mobile are finally merging after a year awaiting regulatory approval.
- Deal will see Sprint sell prepaid assets, including Boost and Virgin, to Dish for $1.4 billion.
- Dish will also pay over $3 billion for Sprint’s 800Mhz spectrum.
- Dish will have access to T-Mobile’s network for 7 years until it can build its own network.
- Combined company, also called T-Mobile, will have around 90 million customers.
After a year in limbo and plenty of pushback from many sides, including lawsuits filed by Attorneys General in 10 U.S. states, the T-Mobile / Sprint merger is finally set to go ahead.
The approval came after Sprint and Dish, a satellite TV provider and hoarder of wireless spectrum that it’s never used, agreed to pay $1.4 billion to purchase prepaid assets from Sprint, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s own prepaid business, and an additional $3.5 billion for all of the company’s 800Mhz spectrum that it currently utilizes for its legacy 3G and newer LTE network.
The settlement requires a substantial divestiture package in order to enable a viable facilities-based competitor to enter the market. Further, the settlement will facilitate the expeditious deployment of multiple high-quality 5G networks for the benefit of American consumers and entrepreneurs.
The Justice Department is hoping that the significant divestiture will appease the remaining Attorneys General of five states will following through with lawsuits against the merger. As part of the deal, Dish will have access to T-Mobile’s network under an MVNO agreement for seven years, and Sprint will need to provide access to 20,000 retail locations and storefronts to help the fledgling network get off the ground. At the end of the process, the goal is to have Dish, or whatever name it eventually gives its new wireless network, act as the de facto fourth facilities-based carrier in the U.S. — the role Sprint has played until today.