T-Mobile US Inc. won court approval for its US$26.5 billion takeover of Sprint Corp., defeating a state-led lawsuit that sought to block the industry-altering wireless deal.
Sprint and T-Mobile held merger talks more than five years ago, but these collapsed due to competition concerns from the Obama administration.
It's been a long and bumpy road, but nearly two whole years after entering into an agreement created to change the status quo of the USA wireless industry for good, T-Mobile and Sprint are cleared at last to become one "new" and powerful carrier.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, one of the leading attorneys general in the case, said her office was considering an appeal.
The deal was formally announced in April 2018, but T-Mobile, which is owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom, and Sprint, run by Japanese conglomerate Softbank, had been flirting with a merger for years but were thwarted by political head winds. She said Tuesday's ruling "marks a loss for every American who relies on their cell phone for work, to care for a family member, and to communicate with friends".
Mike Siebert, T-Mobile's current president, is poised to succeed John Legere as chief executive to helm the newly combined company on May 1.
"We have serious concerns that cobbling together this new fourth mobile player, with the government picking winners and losers, will not address the merger's harm to consumers, workers, and innovation", New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the suit previous year. T-Mobile agreed to sell millions of Sprint's prepaid customers to Dish. If the deal clears, Dish will instead focus its efforts on building a 5G network covering 20% of the country by June 2022 and 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023, with the effect of facing a $2.2 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury if it fails to live up to its commitments.
Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen said in a statement that the ruling will accelerate its ability to deploy 5G and that its growth as a new competitor will bring "lower prices, greater choice and more innovation to consumers".
Some analysts have said that Dish has potential as a viable competitor, but a big question is when. The new Dish wireless network will start life with about 9 million subscribers.