Florida signed on to a consent agreement that the Justice Department reached with Sprint Corp and T-Mobile to allow the companies to merge. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Wednesday the state is joining the United States, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota in settling claims.
The settlement requires a substantial divestiture package in order to enable a viable fourth facilities-based competitor to enter the market.
Further, the settlement will facilitate the expeditious deployment of 5G, according to the DOJ.
“Florida has been one of the states leading this investigation since the beginning, and I am pleased that they have chosen to join our settlement after completing their thorough review,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
The DOJ’s Antitrust Division and now seven co-plaintiff states sued to block this transaction; they 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 seven states.
Under the proposed settlement terms, T-Mobile and Sprint must divest Sprint’s prepaid business – including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid – to satellite television provider Dish Network. The proposed settlement also includes the divestiture of certain spectrum assets to Dish. Additionally, T-Mobile and Sprint must make available to Dish at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations. T-Mobile must provide Dish with robust access to the T-Mobile network for a period of seven years while Dish builds out its own 5G network.
A group of 17 states and the District of Columbia has filed a separate lawsuit to stop the $26 billion merger, arguing that it will lead to higher prices for consumers. A trial date has been set for December 9, reported Yahoo Finance.
Separately, the FCC has indicated it plans to approve the merger and has begun the process of formally doing so.
October 3, 2019