5G and Beyond

IT'S OVER: T-Mobile, Sprint merger approved – reports

According to multiple reports citing unnamed sources, a judge has approved the proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. The action essentially removes the final barrier to a transaction that promises to dramatically reshape the US wireless industry.

According to reports from both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, the judge overseeing a lawsuit attempting to block the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile will soon issue a public ruling that sides with the companies. The reports indicate the judge has shared his ruling with the companies. A group of state attorneys general had filed a lawsuit to block the merger, arguing it would inhibit competition, but the judge reportedly rejected that argument and instead will let the merger proceed.

Not only will the merger combine the nation's third and fourth biggest wireless network operators, it would also pave the way for Dish Network to begin building out a nationwide 5G network using its massive spectrum holdings.

The combination of Sprint and T-Mobile will undoubtedly put additional pressure on AT&T and Verizon, which are by far the nation's two largest wireless network operators. Although Sprint and T-Mobile will have to work to combine their respective operations and networks, the merged company will have the spectrum resources to create a 5G powerhouse that will attempt to cut into the massive market share that AT&T and Verizon command in the US.

The outlook for Dish is much more cloudy, but the judge's ruling on the merger paves the way for Dish to immediately become the nation's second-largest MVNO with roughly 10 million prepaid customers from Sprint. It also would set up Dish to begin construction on a 5G network built with the latest wireless networking technology and extensive spectrum holdings unencumbered with any customers.

According to the reports from the NYT and WSJ, the companies involved in the transaction are expected to make announcements about the deal tomorrow.

The deal had been expected to close last year, but the lawsuit blocking the transaction delayed it by almost a year.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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