The Department of Justice added Arkansas as a plaintiff in the suit and proposed settlement concerning the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. Arkansas becomes the ninth state to join the DOJ settlement, along with Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. The settlement is designed to launch Dish Network Corp. as a fourth nationwide wireless provider.
The DOJ says the deal protects competition, and will expedite the availability of high-quality 5G networks. It does not, however, resolve a multi-state lawsuit that seeks to block the telecom merger; a trial is pending next month in federal court.
“We are gratified that Arkansas shares our view of the tremendous benefits to competition that will arise out of the proposed consent judgment,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “A combined T-Mobile and Sprint, coupled with competition from Dish, will provide increased value to residents of Arkansas and consumers nationwide.”
The latest action means DOJ’s Antitrust Division and now nine co-plaintiff states have sued to block this transaction, and have agreed to settle the lawsuit based on the proposed settlement. That settlement, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive concerns of the DOJ and the co-plaintiff states’.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, T-Mobile and Sprint must divest Sprint’s prepaid business — including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid — to Dish. Further, T-Mobile and Sprint must divest certain spectrum assets to Dish. T-Mobile and Sprint must make at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations available to Dish. T-Mobile must also provide Dish with access to its network for seven years while Dish builds out its own 5G network.
November 12, 2019