• FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger



    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - T-Mobile US Incís (TMUS.O) proposed $26.5 billion tie-up with Sprint Corp (S.N) won formal approval from the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday in a vote split along party lines, two sources told Reuters.

    Chairman Ajit Pai and two Republican commissioners voted to approve the deal while two Democratic commissioners voted against it, the sources said.

    The text of the approval order is not expected to be released until later in the month.

    The deal to combine the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers, which has been fighting for government approval since April 2018, still faces a lawsuit brought by a group of state attorneys general, headed by New York.

    The lawsuit against Sprint and its parent company Softbank Group Corp and T-Mobile and its parent Deutsche Telekom AG argues the deal will lead to higher prices for consumers. A trial date has been set for Dec. 9.

    The U.S. Justice Department approved the deal in July.

    Under the Justice Department deal, the companies would divest Sprintís prepaid businesses, including Boost Mobile, to satellite television company Dish Network Corp (DISH.O), and provide it with access to 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations. That deal is worth about $5 billion.
    Source: Reuters

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    This article was originally published in forum thread: FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 116 Comments
    1. L33's Avatar
      L33 -
      Not surprising. Now they just gotta deal with AGs and they're all done. I suspect they'll pick off AGs one by one until December 8th and take the rest of them head on.
    1. freakonomics101's Avatar
      freakonomics101 -
      Wow. I canít think of anything else to say lol


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. offthegrid's Avatar
      offthegrid -
      Quote Originally Posted by L33 View Post
      Not surprising. Now they just gotta deal with AGs and they're all done. I suspect they'll pick off AGs one by one until December 8th and take the rest of them head on.
      They'll cut deals with all of them. They're really only looking for a bribe.
    1. obeythelaw's Avatar
      obeythelaw -
      Exactly, T-Mobile wants the lawsuits taken care of. It's nothing but the State AGs trying to get something out of this. I expect that they will all be resolved by the end of the year. Hopefully, that will let the new T-Mobile start using Sprint spectrum to fill in gaps that Band 71 does not cover yet.
    1. cricket101's Avatar
      cricket101 -
      i was doing some reading and just saw that Dish will get sprints entire 800mhz network?!?!? thought they was just taking the prepaid and customers??
    1. offthegrid's Avatar
      offthegrid -
      Quote Originally Posted by cricket101 View Post
      i was doing some reading and just saw that Dish will get sprints entire 800mhz network?!?!? thought they was just taking the prepaid and customers??
      The spectrum yes. I don't know how they'll deal with antennas and attached equipment - whether those things can be separated for sale or not.
    1. @TheRealDanny's Avatar
      @TheRealDanny -
      Does T-Mobile have to (by law) pause the combination with Sprint until the matters with each state is resolved or are they choosing to do so?
    1. Qt0's Avatar
      Qt0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cricket101 View Post
      i was doing some reading and just saw that Dish will get sprints entire 800mhz network?!?!? thought they was just taking the prepaid and customers??
      I think so, but Sprint doesn't have that much 800mhz to begin with, so its not a huge loss.
    1. mogelijk's Avatar
      mogelijk -
      Quote Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
      The spectrum yes. I don't know how they'll deal with antennas and attached equipment - whether those things can be separated for sale or not.
      From what I have read, I seem to recall that T-Mobile gets all the towers and equipment. I wouldn't be surprised if there is something in the deal that gives Dish the first right to buy any towers that T-Mobile does not want, if Dish wants them.
    1. L33's Avatar
      L33 -
      Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
      Does T-Mobile have to (by law) pause the combination with Sprint until the matters with each state is resolved or are they choosing to do so?
      Yes and no, its somewhat of a gray area. However they're going down the route of pausing all merger operations until the lawsuits are settled.
    1. DRNewcomb's Avatar
      DRNewcomb -
      Quote Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
      The spectrum yes. I don't know how they'll deal with antennas and attached equipment - whether those things can be separated for sale or not.
      Dish will be able to take over any of Sprint's tower leases that T-Mobile does not need. I'd imagine that Sprint's equipment at those towers would be depreciated to the point that it would cost T-Mobile more to remove it than to just turn it over to Dish.
    1. themanhimself's Avatar
      themanhimself -
      So I guess its almost a done deal now?
    1. DRNewcomb's Avatar
      DRNewcomb -
      Quote Originally Posted by themanhimself View Post
      So I guess its almost a done deal now?
      There are still suits filed by state AGs.
    1. offthegrid's Avatar
      offthegrid -
      Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
      Dish will be able to take over any of Sprint's tower leases that T-Mobile does not need. I'd imagine that Sprint's equipment at those towers would be depreciated to the point that it would cost T-Mobile more to remove it than to just turn it over to Dish.
      I think Tmobile would likely lease that spectrum back from Dish for the foreseeable future though because separating it via new connections down the tower, new equipment huts and new back haul to switching gear that isn't in place at all isn't going to pop up over night.
    1. hwertz's Avatar
      hwertz -
      Yep, I doubt Dish will want Sprint's 800mhz equipment; Dish plans a 5G network, while Sprint's equipment is probably not 5G upgradeable in any way. Sprint's got 800mhz as their sole low band spectrum, so I would guess the antennas are tuned particularly for that range. Dish has 600, 700, and 800 low so they'd probably want different antennas as well.

      It'd make sense to lease the spectrum to T-Mo to continue operating 800mhz LTE until Dish actually gets around to doing something with it in a given area.

      If you have Sprint, don't fear! Might need a new phone to replace that 800mhz coverage, but not for several years; at that point, rather than 800mhz you'd be using t-mo's 600mhz and 700mhz spectrum for max range, and of course you'd have roughly twice as much pcs (1900) and AWS (2100) (both Sprint's and T-Mos) for when you're closer but not quite in 2500mhz range.
    1. shilohcane's Avatar
      shilohcane -
      Quote Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
      I think Tmobile would likely lease that spectrum back from Dish for the foreseeable future though because separating it via new connections down the tower, new equipment huts and new back haul to switching gear that isn't in place at all isn't going to pop up over night.
      I think that it will be at least a year plus before Dish even buys the 800 MHz since they have no network and will be leasing all of Dish’s 600 MHz spectrums. They could be leasing all of Dish’s cell phone spectrum to T- Mobile for a while since the Boost phones don’t even work on some of Dish’s current spectrum bands. Boost customers don’t have a lot of quality phones.
    1. offthegrid's Avatar
      offthegrid -
      Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
      I think that it will be at least a year plus before Dish even buys the 800 MHz.
      Isn't Tmobile selling that spectrum part of the approved deal? How would they say, 'oh don't worry, we'll buy it next year - we promise.' I'm not sure that would fly 'if' in fact that is part of the requirement that gained both FCC and DOJ approval.
    1. shilohcane's Avatar
      shilohcane -
      Quote Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
      Isn't Tmobile selling that spectrum part of the approved deal? How would they say, 'oh don't worry, we'll buy it next year - we promise.' I'm not sure that would fly 'if' in fact that is part of the requirement that gained both FCC and DOJ approval.
      Dish and T-Mobile will either sign an agreement to buy the 800Mhz in the future or buy it and lease it to T-Mobile. Dish doesn’t have any revenue to pay for thousands of tower leases. Dish is going to lease all of their 600 MHz spectrum to T-Mobile for a few years since Boost customers don’t have Band 71 phones. The new T-Mobile is going to have to transfer all the non-Boost Sprint customers to the new T-Mobile. Dish has no use for 800MHz or the revenue to build out yet. I expect Dish to also lease their other spectrum to T-Mobile to increase their revenue plus meet the FCC deadline in 2020 for that spectrum under the use it or lose it FCC rule. Dish is going to start out as a NVMO at first. Dish’s plan for a Dish Native Network that will be 5G under the Release 16 which is stand alone version of 5G.
    1. offthegrid's Avatar
      offthegrid -
      Quote Originally Posted by shilohcane View Post
      Dish and T-Mobile will either sign an agreement to buy the 800Mhz in the future or buy it and lease it to T-Mobile.
      Which is exactly what I originally stated and now you cite that as a possible yourself. Talk about circular logic.
    1. mogelijk's Avatar
      mogelijk -
      Colorado is dropping their lawsuit against the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Colorado is evidence that the states are not really objecting to the merger, more that the lawsuits are trying to get things from the merger. In Colorado's case, they are dropping it after Dish has promised to build their new wireless headquarters in the state.

      I suspect we'll see more lawsuits dropped by states over the coming days.
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