Judge Approves $26 Billion Sprint, T-Mobile Merger

A U.S. District Court Judge Feb. 11 approved the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint — paving the way for an empowered telecommunications partnership that includes Dish Network and is aimed at competing against AT&T and Verizon.

The deal, which was approved by the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission, still requires a formal greenlight from the California Public Utilities Commission.

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U.S. Judge Victor Marrero, in his ruling, denied claims by several State Attorney Generals that the merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers would stifle competition and raise consumer rates, among other issues.

In addition, the Marrero dismissed concerns Dish Network wouldn’t be able to enter the market successfully as a wireless carrier. As part of the Sprint, T-Mobile deal, Dish agreed to acquire Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and other prepaid phone businesses for $5 billion.

Dish, which operates a satellite TV distribution business, has been looking to diversify its business, including launching online TV platform Sling TV.

“The resulting stalemate leaves the court lacking sufficiently impartial and objective ground on which to rely in basing a sound forecast of the likely competitive effects of a merger,” Marrero wrote in support of the deal.

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As part of the transaction, Sprint and T-Mobile said they would deploy a 5G nationwide network within three years of closing the deal.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has opposed the merger, said the deal thwarts consumer rights and fair pricing.

“We’ll stand on the side of competition over megamergers, every time,” Becerra said. “And our coalition is prepared to fight as long as necessary to protect innovation and competitive costs.”

Report: Amazon Eyeing Boost Mobile Pre-Paid Wireless Service

Amazon reportedly is considering acquiring Boost Mobile, the prepaid cellphone service owned by Sprint Corp.

Sprint, which is attempting to merge with T-Mobile to become “New T-Mobile” for $26 billion, is spinning off Boost in an effort to appease federal regulators.

Reuters, which first reported the story citing sources familiar with the situation, said Amazon’s interest revolves around the ability to use T-Mobile’s wireless network and access wireless spectrum for six years as part of any transaction.

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Wireless spectrum enables the flow of digital data, including sound and video. Spectrum helps deliver voice and video between cell phones, television shows from broadcasters and online information between computers.

In addition to e-commerce, SVOD and digital books and music, Amazon has become one of the world’s largest cloud-based services through its AWS (Amazon Web Services) subsidiary.