T-Mobile has announced the completion of its merger with Sprint, even though a review of the deal is pending in California.
On Wednesday, T-Mobile declared victory in its two-year-long ordeal to buy Sprint for $26 billion. On the same day, a DC District Court judge cleared the merger under the antitrust-focused Tunney Act.
The only barrier left standing is the California Public Utilities Commission; it’s slated to review the deal on April 16 in order for the merger to proceed in the US’s most populous state. However, T-Mobile has decided to forge ahead without that approval, so technically, the merger is only complete in 49 out of 50 US states.
Subscribers on the two carriers should expect no immediate changes. Monthly rates will remain the same, and both brands will continue to exist under the T-Mobile parent company. “For now, all customers will stay with the same Sprint and T-Mobile network, stores, and service they’ve been using,” the carrier said in a new website decided to the merger.
“Behind the scenes, the team’s working hard to bring it all together to create an amazing experience for customers of the new T-Mobile,” it added.
By merging with Sprint, the carrier says it’ll have more network capacity to deliver better cellular service to Americans across the country — although the benefits will take years to roll out. For example, the company is promising its 5G service will cover 99 percent of the population within six years, resulting in 100Mbps or higher speeds for most subscribers. For rural users, the speeds will reach 50Mbps and up.
In addition, T-Mobile says it’s going to expand into broadband services to give consumers another alternative to home internet cable providers. Details remain thin, but the company has previously said it plans to roll out a $50-a-month LTE-based service to millions of rural customers in the coming years.
The other big promise is on price. Despite gobbling up Sprint, T-Mobile says it’s going to offer strong cellular service to consumers at low monthly costs.
When the merger was announced in 2018, not everyone was on board. The Justice Department and attorneys general in almost a dozen US states objected to how the industry was consolidating the country’s cellular carriers from four major providers to three. They feared the ripple effects would result in less competition, and thus higher prices for consumers at a time when mobile internet and home broadband quality in the parts of the US is spotty at best.
So in response, T-Mobile renegotiated the deal to shed off the carrier’s prepaid cellular business assets so that Dish Network can enter the mobile carrier space as a fourth competitor. According to Dish, T-Mobile now has 90 days to divest the assets, which include Boost Mobile.
“We are eager to welcome Boost customers, employees and dealers, and look forward to delivering lower prices and increased competition in the prepaid market,” Dish said in a statement to Light Reading. Over time, the company plans on also building up its own 5G network, which is slated to cover 70 percent of the population by June 2023.
As for customers on T-Mobile and Sprint, the new merged company has created a dedicated FAQ site to answer your questions.