What the Mississippi Deal With T-Mobile-Sprint Means

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Thursday, Inside Towers reported that Mississippi reached a deal with T-Mobile and Sprint for broadband and 5G deployment in the state. At the same time, Mississippi left the now 16 states that are fighting T-Mobile’s proposed acquisition of Sprint in federal court. Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche said in a note to investors yesterday the details of the Mississippi settlement may offer clues to the carriers’ talks happening with other states. The current merger agreement for T-Mobile-Sprint is valid until November 1. However, expect this to be extended in light of continuing legal reviews, she noted.

Details of the settlement include: 

  • Within three years of closing on the merger, the New T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network in Mississippi with at least 62 percent of the state’s general and rural populations having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps.
  • Within six years of closing, it will cover at least 92 percent of Mississippi’s general population and 88 percent of Mississippi’s rural population.
  • These commitments include 5G service in rural areas, including but not limited to Amite, Carroll, Choctaw, Covington, Franklin, Greene, Issaquena, Kemper, Lawrence, Marion, Perry, Smith, Tippah, and Walthall counties.
  • The parties also made limited price commitments and, in discussions with the Attorney General’s Office, vowed to decrease prices as supply increased, particularly as DISH enters the mobile market.

“While we view this settlement as a positive, our discussions with our D.C. legal contacts would suggest to contain our enthusiasm,” she said. “According to these conversations, they acknowledged while we may even see more states may drop out over the coming weeks, unless a settlement is reached with NY where this originated, there will be a case commencing in December.” (Fritzsche is referring to the trial now slated to begin December 9, in the Southern District of New York.)

Wells Fargo also believes investors should watch the news from the Tunney Act review. This is a separate review at the Department of Justice in federal court in Washington, D.C. Passed in 1974, and then amended in 2004, the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act, commonly referred to as the Tunney Act, requires the federal government to file any proposal for a consent judgement of any antitrust matter within 60 days with the district court where the matter is presiding. Comments from parties opposing the merger on this review should be filed sometime this month, according to Fritzsche.

October 11, 2019

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