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T-Mobile finalizes merger with Sprint, becoming nation's third-largest carrier

The combined company has pledged to make several changes that will benefit consumers and create jobs

Photo (c) franckreporter - Getty Images
T-Mobile announced on Wednesday that it has officially merged with Sprint. Under the $23 billion merger, the combined company will operate under the T-Mobile name. 

The completion of the merger follows a long period of debate between the carriers and state attorneys general, who argued that eradicating the fourth carrier would be anticompetitive. However, state officials have withdrawn their opposition to the merger in recent months. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in February that her state would not appeal the merger decision, in part because of the jobs T-Mobile promised to create.

“We are gratified that the process has yielded commitments from T-Mobile to create jobs in Rochester and engage in robust national diversity initiatives that will connect our communities with good jobs and technology,” James said at the time. 

“We hope to work with all parties to ensure that consumers get the best pricing and service possible, that networks are built out throughout our state, and that good-paying jobs are created here in New York.”

Expediting 5G rollout

The merger received approval from a federal judge back in February, with T-Mobile CEO John Legere calling the decision a “huge victory.” He thanked the court for its “thorough review of the facts we presented in our case.” 

“We’ve said it all along: the New T-Mobile will be a supercharged Un-carrier that is great for consumers and great for competition,” Legere said. “The broad and deep 5G network that only our combined companies will be able to bring to life is going to change wireless … and beyond. Look out Dumb and Dumber and Big Cable – we are coming for you … and you haven’t seen anything yet!” 

T-Mobile has argued that joining forces with rival Sprint will pave the way for a faster rollout of nationwide 5G. Earlier this year, T-Mobile promised to unveil “America’s first transformational nationwide 5G network and services” once combined with Sprint. The carrier said the change could “supercharge innovation throughout the U.S. economy.” 

Conditions of the deal

The FCC has been on board with the merger for some time now. Chairman Ajit Pai has expressed optimism that the deal will give the U.S. an edge in the race to deploying 5G.  

“After one of the most exhaustive merger reviews in Commission history, the evidence conclusively demonstrates that this transaction will bring fast 5G wireless service to many more Americans and help close the digital divide in rural areas,” Pai said in an August statement. 

As part of the merger, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has agreed to step down. COO Mike Sievert will take his place. 

The company has also agreed to help establish satellite TV company Dish Network as a fourth major wireless company for the sake of preserving competition. T-Mobile also said it would uphold its previous promise to offer "the same or better rate plans" for three years.

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