Judge Approves DOJ T-Mobile-Sprint Settlement

A federal district judge in Washington Wednesday (April 1) ruled that the Department of Justice's settlement of its challenge to the T-Mobile-Sprint merger was in the public interest, paving the way for the closing of the deal. 

Justice and a number of states--Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas--had agreed to the settlement with the companies and Dish. 

Related: Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Will Go Forward 

Part of the settlement was that the combined company had to spin off its prepaid businesses, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint prepaid brands, to Dish, as well as spectrum assets. 

The idea was to seed Dish as a new, eventually facilities-based, wireless competitor given that the deal was reducing the Big Four--AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile--to the Big Three. 

"I am pleased that the court has entered the final judgment, and I appreciate all of the work from Judge Kelly and the district court staff, particularly in the midst of the current COVID-19 disruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who heads DOJ's Antitrust Division. “The T-Mobile-Sprint transaction, as remedied by the Department of Justice, will combine T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s complementary spectrum assets while preserving competition. Our settlement promises to expand output further by bringing Dish’s extensive spectrum holdings to the market. The end result will be strengthened competition with high-quality 5G networks that will benefit American consumers nationwide.” 

A New York Southern District Judge had denied a request by another group of states, led by New York and California, to block the deal, in part because of the DOJ deal remedies. The FCC also approved the deal.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.