The merger that many said would never be completed is now official. T-Mobile announced this morning that it has purchased Sprint to create the "New T-Mobile," which it calls a "super charged Un-carrier." The company will still be doing business as T-Mobile. The latter fought hard and long to complete the transaction so that it could enhance its 5G network. The next generation of wireless connectivity, 5G will deliver download data speeds up to 10 to 15 faster than 4G and help create new technologies and industries.
T-Mobile will eventually offer 5G data speeds 15 times faster than 4G LTE
As part of the merger, T-Mobile takes control of Sprint's 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum. Such airwaves are a rarity in the states and the FCC plans to auction off more before the end of the year. Getting its hands on this spectrum was the main goal for T-Mobile and the carrier plans on combining it with its 600MHz low-band network to expand the capacity of its nationwide 5G network by a factor of 14 over the next six years. Sprint's mid-band spectrum will also allow T-Mobile to offer 5G download data speeds eight times faster than 4G LTE in a few years and 15 times faster over the next six years. And the good news is that over the same time period, the wireless operator will be able to cover 99% of the country with 5G signals while 90% of the population will have access to data speeds faster than 100Mbps on average. Obtaining Sprint's mid-band spectrum will also provide T-Mobile with the opportunity to bring 50Mbps 5G download data speed to rural Americans.
T-Mobile announced that it "will offer free access to 5G and the best rate plans at low prices, now and in the future, so all customers can reap the benefits of a supercharged Un-Carrier network at a great value." Pricing will not change for three years.
Under the terms of the merger, each Sprint shareholder will receive 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share owned. As this is being written, Sprint's shares are trading at $8.62. With the transaction now official, the second stage sound soon go into effect. Sprint will sell all of its prepaid assets including Boost Mobile, 9.3 million customers, 7,500 retail locations, and 14MHz of 800MHz spectrum to Dish Network. The latter will sign a seven-year MVNO contract with T-Mobile allowing it to sell wireless service under its name while it builds a standalone 5G network. The deal, made by Sprint to help the merger with T-Mobile receive approval from the Department of Justice (DOJ), is designed to turn Dish into a replacement for Sprint; the goal is to keep the number of major U.S. carriers at four.
John Legere leaves behind huge shoes to fill
T-Mobile also announced today that CEO John Legere has stepped down as CEO one month earlier than expected. Legere joined T-Mobile in September 2012 when the company was last among the four major U.S. carriers. With his Un-carrier announcements, Legere helped T-Mobile make over the wireless industry by eliminating two-year contracts and subsidized phone purchases. He also rewarded subscribers by offering free Netflix and created the T-Mobile Tuesdays program that provides customers with weekly giveaways and discounts. Legere soon turned T-Mobile into the fastest growing and most innovative U.S. carrier.
Taking over as CEO of the company immediately is Legere's long time lieutenant Mike Sievert. In a statement, T-Mobile's new CEO said, "All of us at T-Mobile owe John an incredible thank you for everything he’s done to get this company to where we are today. He has changed what it means to be a CEO. Everything that T-Mobile has accomplished is the result of his vision for what a different kind of wireless provider could be. John IS what the Un-carrier is all about: advocating for customers at every turn, forcing us to think differently and always driving for more. He has always pushed the boundaries of what’s possible and pushed us to do the same. His leadership has made us what we are today, and we will take that into the future. Thank you, John, for everything you’ve done for wireless consumers and for our beloved employees! I also want to thank Marcelo Claure and the entire Sprint leadership team for their hard work to get us to this huge day! We did it!... and I’m looking forward to welcoming Sprint employees into Team Magenta, and to working with you now as a member of our Board of Directors."
The merger was first announced on April 29th, 2018 and many analysts didn't give the deal a chance. Back in 2014, when Sprint was the stronger of the two carriers, the FCC and DOJ dissuaded them from even trying to get a deal done. There were quite a few ups and downs, twists and turns, and there were times when you were sure that the merger would never be completed. But today, it is official. Departing CEO Legere summed things up by saying, "The Un-carrier movement started with T-Mobile saying we were going to shake up wireless — and we did! We eliminated annual service contracts, overages and roaming fees, improved customer service and introduced more value. But there’s more. In the best and worst of times, T-Mobile has been here with a dependable network and giving customers best-in-class customer service they can depend on. Today, when those connections are needed more than ever, we are reinforcing everything we’ve stood for as the supercharged New T-Mobile! You know T-Mobile has been all about challenging the status quo … and Sprint has a track record of being a tenacious challenger and a dedicated customer advocate as well. So, with innovation, disruption and obsession for the customer experience as the foundation that the New T-Mobile is built on, just imagine what’s to come."