A U.S. district judge has ruled in favor of Sprint’s $26 billion deal to merge with T-Mobile. The merger would form a wireless giant with 126 million customers. T-Mobile said after the verdict that it expects the deal to close by April 1.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement that the new company, which will retain the T-Mobile name, is “great for consumers and great for competition.” The “New” T-Mobile will be similar in size to market leaders Verizon and AT&T. The companies said the combined company will ultimately employ 11,000 more full-time people than the standalone companies would have over the next four years.
The current deal between T-Mobile and Sprint was proposed in April 2018. The companies have already received approval from the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the merger. The deal still needs the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission before the transaction can close.
To receive approval from the Justice Department, Sprint agreed to sell Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, other prepaid phone businesses, and some of its wireless spectrum to Dish for $5 billion. For the FCC’s approval, the companies promised to deploy a 5G network covering 97 percent of the U.S. population within three years of closing the deal. They also promised not to raise prices for the first three years following the combination.
Attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia originally brought the lawsuit to block the deal. They argued in court that combining the third- and fourth-biggest U.S. carriers would limit competition and result in higher prices for consumers. Judge Victor Marrero wrote that the states failed to convince the court of their arguments. He also rejected the claim that Sprint would be able to continue operating effectively as a wireless services competitor without the merger.