Reaction from the telecom world began pouring in quickly following the appeals court judge’s approval of the T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint on Tuesday, two years after they first announced the proposed transaction. Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York refused a request from a group of state Attorneys General to block the deal. In his opinion, Judge Marrero cited the Justice Department’s settlement as a key factor, noting it made Dish “well poised to become a fourth MNO in the market, and its extensive preparations and regulatory remedies indicate that it can sufficiently replace Sprint’s competitive impact.”
T-Mobile and Sprint are taking final steps to complete their transaction to create the New T-Mobile. T-Mobile CEO John Legere called the decision a “huge” victory. “Now we are FINALLY able to focus on the last steps to get this merger done! Look out Dumb and Dumber,” he said, presumably referring to competitors AT&T and Verizon. “And Big Cable – we are coming for you … and you haven’t seen anything yet!”
Bernard Borghei, Executive Vice President of Operations for Vertical Bridge, told Inside Towers, the merger is a positive for the industry as a whole although their exposure was limited compared to their competitors’. “2020 will be a great year,” Borghei said. “Although there will be a quarter or two of integration, we are excited about the future. With CBRS and C-band, a third carrier will force the competition to react as well. Verizon and AT&T will be forced to upscale their infrastructure,” he said. “DISH is well positioned as the fourth carrier.”
The associations representing tower workers were pleased, saying the decision clears the way for 5G builds. Both the National Association of Tower Erectors and the Wireless Infrastructure Association said the ruling provides “much-needed” clarity in the industry.
The Wireless Infrastructure Association agreed the ruling’s clarity clears the way for 5G work. “Now, all parties, and the entire wireless industry, can return its full focus to the heavy lifting of building new 5G networks,” said WIA President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “We need to move fast to enact the right policies and build a 5G-ready workforce to support the massive effort ahead.”
“We are particularly pleased that this decision came prior to our annual NATE UNITE 2020 Conference as this merger will be a major topic of conversation at our event,” said NATE Executive Director Todd Schlekeway. “NATE and our 930 member companies are optimistic that this T-Mobile/Sprint merger news will ultimately lead to increased carrier and vendor spending investments that are necessary in order to build, install and maintain the next generation networks and related infrastructure that are so critical to the 5G deployment cycle in the United States.”