Justice Department ready to stop the celebration at T-Mobile and Sprint headquarters

Justice Department ready to stop the celebration at T-Mobile and Sprint headquarters
This morning we told you that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has recommended that his fellow Commissioners approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. With one other Commissioner stating that he would vote to allow the deal to go through, the odds of the merger closing were never better. Then along came the Department of Justice. Bloomberg reports that a person familiar with the DOJ's review says that the agency is leaning toward voting against the transaction. Approval from both regulatory agencies is required for the merger to close.

T-Mobile and Sprint have made a number of concessions that apparently impressed the FCC but not the DOJ. The carriers promised to sell Sprint's Boost Mobile pre-paid provider, which competes with T-Mobile's MetroPCS unit and complete its nationwide 5G rollout in three years. At the same time, prices for wireless service would be frozen for three years following the merger. According to the report, the DOJ feels that the concessions agreed to by the carriers don't go far enough. The agency is concerned that merging the nation's third and fourth largest carriers would reduce competition in the industry. Verizon and AT&T are the top two wireless providers in the country.

Outside of Sprint agreeing to jettison its Virgin Mobile prepaid unit, it isn't clear what else the two carriers could agree to that might sway the Justice Department to allow the merger to proceed. The $26.5 billion deal was announced in April 2018 and has been under review since. The FCC review of the merger covers the telecommunications and technical aspects of the deal. The DOJ is in charge of determining if consumers would be hurt by allowing the transaction to close.

Today's flash from Bloomberg about the DOJ follows a previous story published last month by the Wall Street Journal. According to that report, a Justice Department official had told T-Mobile and Sprint executives that the deal, as structured at the time, would not gain DOJ approval. T-Mobile CEO John Legere denied the report, calling it "untrue."

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7 Comments

1. LawnBoy

Posts: 127; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

But AT&T can merge with anybody they want to and nobody cares

3. rebretz

Posts: 103; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

My thoughts exactly. AT&T buys Direct TV and raises prices and DOJ does nothing.

4. bohmcj

Posts: 12; Member since: Mar 19, 2017

Granted yes AT&T has been acquiring more companies, they’re in different industries: mainly TV companies. When AT&T tried to acquire T-Mobile, who was a smaller player in 2011, the FCC and DoJ brought up similar concerns that are being raised now with Sprint and T-Mobile.

5. Fred3

Posts: 389; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Don't forget Disney, Apple, I think Walmart

7. BuffaloSouce

Posts: 1216; Member since: May 01, 2017

Come now, bringing up facts doesn't fly around here.

2. RGreen

Posts: 82; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Sounds like politricks

6. fakenewzz

Posts: 122; Member since: Nov 15, 2018

I think obozoz crooked arse administration made most of those shady deals.

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