T-Mobile-Sprint Talks With DOJ May be Freezing as Telecoms Face Ultimatum

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Negotiations between T-Mobile, Sprint and the Justice Department have been ongoing for weeks as the carriers offer various types of concessions to get their deal approved. The concessions could include divesting spectrum and Boost Mobile in order to create a fourth carrier. But the talks may be stalling. If no agreement is made this week, the Justice Department might sue to block the deal, according to various accounts and first reported by CNBC.

T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom is said to be resisting a Dish demand for permission to potentially resell Sprint assets to a cable provider in the future. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in an investor note last week that such a move would offer cable operators, “a very clear path to own spectrum.”

Dish Network is reportedly the top bidder and offered an estimated $6 billion for the package. Boost Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator that Sprint owns and that uses Sprint’s network. Deutsche Telekom is concerned if it agrees to the divestiture transaction as currently structured, a larger company could acquire Dish and those assets — effectively using the network of a combined T-Mobile-Sprint to compete against DK, according to Yahoo Finance.

The deal reportedly on the table now would allow Dish unrestricted access to wholesale capacity for three years, reported CNBC. Deutsche Telekom wants to be able to terminate any wholesale agreement if Dish is acquired by a cable operator, a condition the DOJ is reportedly against.

Neither the carriers, nor the DOJ would comment. T-Mobile and Sprint have a July 29 deadline to complete the transaction but are expected to extend it, Inside Towers reported.

July 22, 2019

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