T-Mobile-Sprint Deal Now Up to Judge

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The federal judge hearing the lawsuit from 13 state attorneys general suing to block T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint heard final arguments Wednesday. U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero did not ask any questions of either party and said he would make a decision “as promptly as possible,” Reuters reported.

The states filed a lawsuit in June to stop the transaction, saying it would lead to higher prices for consumers.

The telecoms pushed back and emphasized they would compete aggressively to push prices down. T-Mobile and Sprint contend that the merger would enable the combined company to compete more effectively with dominant carriers Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc.

T-Mobile lawyer David Gelfand argued that the combination between the nation’s number three and number four carriers would create a “revolutionary network,” with faster speeds and better capacity to deploy 5G. But attorney Glenn Pomerantz, speaking on behalf of the states, rebuffed that argument, saying: “We did not need a merger for 2G, 3G or 4G,” according to Politico.  

Pomerantz also predicted that T-Mobile would cease to be the “Un-carrier” if the deal is approved, to the detriment of consumers. “The flower child is going to turn into an investment banker,” he said.

Executives from the telecoms testified during the trial that Sprint’s business was deteriorating and would not survive if it did not merge with T-Mobile. The carriers argued that selling Sprint’s prepaid business and some wireless spectrum to Dish Network Corp. would help the satellite TV provider become a mobile competitor and preserve a fourth wireless company in the industry, reported Reuters.

The states, led by New York and California, testified that Dish was ill-equipped to become a competitive fourth wireless carrier. They said Wednesday that Dish lacks experience, scale and brand recognition in wireless. In rebuttal, Pomerantz explained Sprint could turn itself around the same way T-Mobile did when it launched 4G technology. 

ED: Inside Towers plans to issue a Bulletin if a decision is made during working hours.

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