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Sprint/T-Mobile Could Reportedly Get Final Approval This Week

Dan Jones

The $26.5 billion merger between Sprint and T-Mobile could attain final approval this week from the Justice Department.

Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile, has reportedly decided to move forward with Dish in order to close the Sprint deal.

This, after reports that the Justice Department could sue to block the merger if DT, T-Mobile and Dish don't come to some kind of agreement this week.

As previously reported, Dish would buy Sprint's Boost Mobile arm and mobile spectrum to form a fourth wireless carrier in the US. This would give the Justice Department the confidence to approve the Sprint/T-Mobile merger.

If the deal with Dish goes through, Dish would sign a 4G MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) deal with T-Mobile. At the same time, Dish would begin building out its own 5G network.

Dish would be able to compete against T-Mobile using the MVNO deal, which is expected to last at least six years.

DT had been concerned about Dish selling out 5% -- or more -- of its operations during the MVNO period, with Amazon, Google or the cable companies being seen as possible candidates to buy. This would potentially create a major competitor to the merged T-Mobile/Sprint.

The Justice Department, however, is concerned about creating a fourth wireless carrier with minimal restrictions to operations. So, DT is going forward with the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, as it has decided that it is better to close the Sprint deal rather than continue to be concerned with Dish's competitive threat.

The Sprint/T-Mobile merger still faces a lawsuit from 13 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia, seeking to block the merger on anti-competitive grounds. This isn't slated to start, however, until October 7, 2019.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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