The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved T-Mobile US’s $26 billion deal to buy rival Sprint after they agreed to sell Sprint’s pre-paid businesses including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, and Sprint’s 800 MHz spectrum licenses for $5 billion to Dish.
T-Mobile and Sprint expect to receive federal regulatory approval in Q3 and anticipate that the merger will be permitted to close in the second half of 2019.
The Justice Department and five state attorneys general said they were filing suit to enforce the settlement conditions. The deal, which would merge the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers, has been challenged in court by some other state attorneys general led by New York.
Dish Network said it will enter the U.S. wireless market as the fourth mobile phone operator via MNO model. Dish has committed to the Federal Communications Commission that Dish will deploy a facilities-based 5G broadband network capable of serving 70 percent of the U.S. population by June 2023.
If Dish fails to meet its 5G deployment deadlines, Dish will make contributions of up to $2.2 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
“These developments are the fulfillment of more than $21 billion in spectrum investments intended to transform Dish into a connectivity company,” said Dish Networks co-founder and chairman Charlie Ergen.
Dish Network will add Sprint’s 400 employees and retail network that supports more than 7,500 retail outlets.
Dish will buy Sprint’s entire prepaid businesses including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint-branded prepaid customers for $1.4 billion. These brands serve 9.3 million customers in total.
Dish will acquire Sprint’s 800 MHz spectrum for approximately $3.6 billion. Dish has also committed to new buildout schedules associated with the company’s 600 MHz, AWS-4, 700 MHz E Block and AWS H Block licenses.
The companies will provide Dish wireless customers access to the New T-Mobile network for seven years and offer standard transition services arrangements to Dish during a transition period of up to three years.
Dish will have an option to take on leases for certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by the New T-Mobile.
“The T-Mobile and Sprint merger we announced last April will create a bigger and bolder competitor than ever before — one that will deliver the most transformative 5G network in the country, lower prices, better quality, unmatched value and thousands of jobs,” said New T-Mobile CEO John Legere.