The FCC has issued the text of its decision approving the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. That came in the form of a Memorandum Opinion and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Order of Proposed Modification. The FCC modified some build-out requirements on Dish spectrum as part of the spin-off of the merged company’s Boost Mobile prepaid operations to the satellite operator.
The FCC today voted along party lines to approve the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, meaning the deal has received the full blessing of the U.S. government. But the merger is still facing a significant obstacle as more than a dozen state attorneys general forge ahead in their lawsuit to block the deal.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday circulated a draft order that would grant approval to the $26 billion tie-up of T-Mobile Us Inc. and Sprint Corp.
Dish says it will combine $5 billion in assets being spun off from the Sprint-T-Mobile merger with its own vast reserves of wireless spectrum to compete head-on with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint-T-Mobile. “We’ve been here before,” said Dish CEO Charlie Ergen. “When we entered pay-TV with the launch of our first satellite in 1995, we faced entrenched cable monopolies, and our direct competitor was owned by one of the largest industrial corporations in the world.”
Sprint and T-Mobile combined would approach the size of Verizon and AT&T. The companies have argued that bulking up will mean a better next-generation “5G” wireless network than they could make on their own.
The cable operator submitted a proposal to the Justice Department to buy certain assets being spun off by the merger of the two wireless companies, but never heard back from the agency, three sources familiar with the matter said. Instead, Justice opted for a plan to sell the assets to Dish. Justice is expected to greenlight the merger.
As part of the agreement settling DOJ’s antitrust concerns, the merging companies would spin off assets to Dish that would facilitate its entry into the wireless market as a new No. 4. The arrangement provides for Dish to acquire prepaid subscribers and wireless licenses from the merger partners, the Wall Street Journal says citing unnamed sources. Dish would also get a multiyear agreement to use the wireless companies’ network while it builds its own infrastructure.
If the Department of Justice is going to allow T-Mobile to merge with Sprint, it’s going to need more concessions from Deutsche Telekom. The German telecommunications company that will control a combined T-Mobile/Sprint is in talks with both Dish Network and the DOJ on the parameters of a divestiture and spectrum-hosting agreement that will prop up Dish as a new U.S. wireless competitor. Deutsche Telekom, Dish and the DOJ are close to an agreement, and a deal could be finalized by next week, according to people familiar with the matter.
The DOJ’s antitrust division has told the two wireless carriers that their planned merger is unlikely to be approved as currently structured, according to people familiar with the matter, casting doubt on the fate of the $26 billion deal.
Former Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn is advising T-Mobile and Sprint on their proposed $26 billion merger as the two companies seek regulatory approval from her former agency. She said that she sees the work as a continuation of her efforts in government to expand internet access to hard-to-reach and overlooked communities.
Hulu is hoping to boost its over-the-top live TV subscriber rolls by extending a special promo to Sprint’s wireless customers. Starting Oct. 19, Sprint customers can upgrade to Hulu With Live TV, which includes 50-plus local and national networks and access to thousands of on-demand titles, from their Sprint account.
Charter Communications shares surged to a record high on Monday after a source said Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp was considering an acquisition offer, even as Charter shot down the possibility of it being the acquirer in any merger with SoftBank’s U.S. wireless carrier, Sprint Corp.
Charter has shot down a plan for it to buy Sprint and create a media and telecom giant. The proposed merger would have resulted in a huge new company controlled by Sprint’s owner, the Japanese tech firm SoftBank, according to reports last week. But Charter dismissed the idea late Sunday.
The companies are looking to merge tech, TV and mobile forces. If a deal takes place, consumers could see more bundles, which could be a good for fans of package deals.
The wireless carrier says it doesn’t need to buy more spectrum. It can increase its coverage and capacity by “densifying” its network and increasing the number of cell sites.
Dish Network Corp is asking U.S. regulators to suspend the review of the proposed acquisition of Sprint Nextel Corp to Japan’s SoftBank Corp, saying its own counteroffer would be preferable for U.S. national security reasons.
Charlie Ergen’s $25.5 billion offer to buy Sprint may be about much less than gaining control of the No. 3 US wireless carrier. Ergen’s Dish Network yesterday made a nonbinding offer of roughly $7 a share for Sprint — which is more than twice its size — but its target may actually be the Sprint-controlled 4G network Clearwire, sources say.
While Sprint and AT&T have been clashing for months over the latter’s proposed merger with T-Mobile, they can surely still agree on the value of spectrum auctions, right? Well, not necessarily. While speaking during a panel discussion at 4G World Monday, Sprint Director of Government Affairs Trey Hanbury downplayed the need for new spectrum auctions that could help its rivals acquire even more prime spectrum for deploying LTE services.