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Technology T-Mobile and Sprint head to court: Everything you need to know

18:00  09 december  2019
18:00  09 december  2019 Source:   cnet.com

The FCC voted to approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

  The FCC voted to approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger Today, the FCC formally approved the contested T-Mobile and Sprint merger, The Vergereports. But commissioners are still speaking out. Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks released statements explaining their decisions to vote against the transaction. In her statement, Rosenworcel said: "We've all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one. In the airline industry, it brought us baggage fees and smaller seats. In the pharmaceutical industry, it led to a handful of drug companies raising the prices of lifesaving medications. There's no reason to think this time will be different.

T - Mobile and Sprint will face off in court with state attorneys general over the fate of their merger. "The court should not permit defendants to proceed with an anticompetitive merger based on the hope that Dish will one day grow into a viable wireless company equal to a competitor that already exists

T - Mobile and Sprint say consumers will suffer without the merger. Lawyers for Sprint and T - Mobile have already struck settlements with five states, but 14 attorneys general, led by California and New York, continue their fight to block the deal, in spite of approvals from the Federal Communication

The fate of the $26 billion megamerger between T-Mobile and Sprint is in the hands of a federal judge. The companies head to court today, where they'll defend their deal to combine the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the US against a challenge from state attorneys general who say the merger will hurt competition and lead to higher prices.

a group of people walking in front of a building: T-Mobile and Sprint will face off in court with state attorneys general over the fate of their merger. Richard Levine/Getty Images© Provided by CNET T-Mobile and Sprint will face off in court with state attorneys general over the fate of their merger. Richard Levine/Getty Images

Lawyers for Sprint and T-Mobile have already struck settlements with five states, but 14 attorneys general, led by those of California and New York, continue their fight to block the deal, in spite of approvals from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

T-Mobile's first 'New T-Mobile' un-carrier event is this Thursday

  T-Mobile's first 'New T-Mobile' un-carrier event is this Thursday T-Mobile's merger with Sprint is still on pause but that hasn't stopped the company from beginning its next round of events.The company is calling the event "New T-Mobile Un-Carrier 1.0.

T - Mobile and Sprint 's combined assets could jump-start its 5G ambitions, pushing the industry further into the next-generation technology. Worried about how this might affect you ? CNET breaks down everything you need to know about this mega T - Mobile and Sprint have long courted each other.

T - Mobile and Sprint say a merger is needed because Sprint by itself is weak and getting weaker. Sprint ’s network quality is worse than its rivals' Legere, the face of T - Mobile and the rare telecom executive whose name may be known to the public because of his tendency to post videos and GIFs

The trial is expected to last two to three weeks, and a decision from District Judge Victor Marrero in the Southern District of New York is expected in February, according to people familiar with the proceeding.

A lot hangs in the balance. The merger, announced more than a year ago, could bring about a seismic shift in the mobile world. One of the conditions of the deal is the divestiture of assets to Dish, giving consumers another potential alternative. The satellite TV provider vows to cover 70 percent of the US with 5G by 2023. T-Mobile and Sprint's combined assets could jump-start the merged entity's 5G ambitions, pushing the industry further into the next-generation technology. The two companies have also said they'll lock in prices for at least three years.

FCC formally approves the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

  FCC formally approves the T-Mobile-Sprint merger Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. The decision comes after a drawn-out, and at times contentious, review of T-Mobile's $26.5 billion bid to merge with Sprint. The FCC believes the deal will close the digital divide and advance 5G in the US. T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to deploying 5G service to cover 97 percent of Americans within three years. They've also pledged to provideThe FCC believes the deal will close the digital divide and advance 5G in the US. T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to deploying 5G service to cover 97 percent of Americans within three years.

The merger of Sprint and T - Mobile won’t change that. If anything, Verizon and AT&T will need to drastically alter their business plans because T - Mobile will suddenly be a much more potent threat to their subscriber counts than it currently already is. Hypothetically, at least at the beginning, this new

T - Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., the country’s third- and fourth-largest carriers by cellphone subscribers, are defending their billion plan to merge into a nationwide heavyweight rivaling Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. The would-be merger partners must defeat a coalition of

a group of people walking down a street next to a building: The companies will face off with state attorneys general in court over the fate of their merger. © Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

The companies will face off with state attorneys general in court over the fate of their merger.

Experts and economists from both sides are expected to testify on whether the merger benefits consumers and what the merger will do to competition in the wireless market, as well as Sprint's prospects for remaining a standalone company.

The deal with Dish, which includes the sale of Sprint's prepaid business along with $5 billion worth of spectrum, is supposed to preserve the government's goal of having four competitors, though it's unclear how wide-ranging the Dish service will be.

Here's what you need to know.

The argument against the deal

The 13 states, along with the District of Columbia, suing to stop the merger say their case is simple: Reducing the number of nationwide wireless carriers from four to three also reduces competition and is "under well-established law, presumptively illegal." That's the gist of the 30-page court document filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra ahead of the trial.

T-Mobile's 5G network will go live on December 6th

  T-Mobile's 5G network will go live on December 6th T-Mobile will officially activate its 5G network on December 6th, the carrier announced today during a live stream dedicated to its upcoming merger with Sprint. According to CEO John Legere, 200 million customers will have access to the network on day one, with 5,000 cities and towns covered before the end of 2019. The company plans to market the initiative as "5G for Good," likely in an effort to drum up additional support for its merger with Sprint. That's because the launch is dependent on the merger going through since T-Mobile needs access to Sprint's spectrum to make such a wide initial rollout possible.

T - Mobile and Sprint say a merger is needed because Sprint by itself is weak and getting weaker. Sprint ’s network quality is worse than its rivals' Legere, the face of T - Mobile and the rare telecom executive whose name may be known to the public because of his tendency to post videos and GIFs

T - Mobile and Sprint are merging to create a big play for 5G by combining networks and wireless Digital Darwinism: Businesses won't fully exploit 5G until it works in the wild Tom Goodwin, EVP & head of Everything you need to know about the new wireless revolution. Here's a look at T - Mobile and

  T-Mobile and Sprint head to court: Everything you need to know © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
T-Mobile-Sprint merger: What it means for you

The main argument they will make in court is that combining T-Mobile and Sprint will reduce competition and violate the federal Clayton Act. This will ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers and fewer choices, they say. Specifically, they argue that if the merger is allowed, AT&T, Verizon and the new T-Mobile would be more likely to coordinate their behavior, leaving consumers worse off.

"Competition between these four rivals, and especially between Sprint and T-Mobile, has resulted in enormous benefits for consumers, including lower prices and innovative features like no-contract plans and unlimited data plans," the states say in their court filing. "Unsurprisingly, this 'four to three' merger would dramatically increase market concentration in an already highly concentrated industry."

The states, which filed their lawsuit in June, say the DOJ settlement isn't enough. They argue that the DOJ's proposal to prop up Dish as a fourth competitor is too risky. The satellite TV provider has no network, no experience operating one and no retail stores.

T-Mobile's 5G network goes live ahead of schedule

  T-Mobile's 5G network goes live ahead of schedule Last month, T-Mobile promised its 5G network would go live in 5,000 cities and towns on December 6th -- if its merger with Sprint went through. That deal is not yet final, but today, a few days ahead of schedule, T-Mobile says it's launching its nationwide 5G network. The catch is that, for now, T-Mobile is offering 600 MHz "low-band" 5G. The network covers more than one million square miles, including many rural areas, and 200 million people. The "low-band" 5G won't be as fast as the 5G we've seen from carriers like Sprint and Verizon (Engadget's parent company), but it will have better range, so it shouldn't run into problems like not being able to travel through walls

T - Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. “Imagine, for example, augmented reality heads -up displays that see everything you do, and provide real-time cloud-driven information about the people

T - Mobile and Sprint say a merger is needed because Sprint by itself is weak and getting weaker. Sprint ’s network quality is worse than its rivals' Legere, the face of T - Mobile and the rare telecom executive whose name may be known to the public because of his tendency to post videos and GIFs

"The court should not permit defendants to proceed with an anticompetitive merger based on the hope that Dish will one day grow into a viable wireless company equal to a competitor that already exists today," the states argue in their filing.

Sprint and T-Mobile's argument

The main argument Sprint and T-Mobile will make is also simple. They say that Verizon and AT&T, the No. 1 and No. 2 wireless carriers in the US, are far bigger than either of the two companies. A merger between Sprint and T-Mobile would create a stronger competitor that could offer lower prices and more innovative services, like 5G.

The companies say the operational efficiencies and combined wireless spectrum portfolio they'd gain through a merger would let them build out their networks much faster and at much greater scale than if they operated separately. They say this will be especially beneficial as they expand their next generation 5G networks.

Specifically, T-Mobile has promised the FCC that it will provide 5G service to 97% of the US population within three years. And within six years, it will cover 99% of the US with 5G. For rural Americans, the coverage would be 85% within three years, and 90% within six.

T-Mobile has also promised to offer a broadband alternative to rural customers and has guaranteed that 90% of Americans will see mobile broadband service at speeds of at least 100Mbps if the deal is approved.

T-Mobile racks up cellphone customers as it awaits merger outcome

  T-Mobile racks up cellphone customers as it awaits merger outcome T-Mobile continues to do its 'Un-carrier' thing, as it waits for a federal judge to decide the fate of its $26 billion merger with Sprint. The deal,announced in 2018, has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Justice. But it could be derailed by a lawsuit filed by a group of state attorneys general, led by California and New York, seeking to stop the merger. The state AGs argue the merger would hurt competition and raise prices for consumers. A two-week trial in federal court in New York commenced in December.

T - Mobile and Sprint say a merger is needed because Sprint by itself is weak and getting weaker. Sprint ’s network quality is worse than its rivals’ T - Mobile has consistently shown that it would be OK without Sprint , said Craig Moffett, a well- known telecom analyst with MoffettNathanson Research.

T - Mobile and Sprint say a merger is needed because Sprint by itself is weak and getting weaker. Sprint ’s network quality is worse than its rivals' Legere, the face of T - Mobile and the rare telecom executive whose name may be known to the public because of his tendency to post videos and GIFs

T-Mobile argues it has proved in the past to be a disrupter in the market. And it says it has no intention of changing that trajectory following the merger. In fact, the company argues that prices will actually go down for consumers postmerger because as the company increases capacity, it'll need to fill the network with users and thus it'll actually lower prices to attract customers. And because of the operational efficiencies of combining the two companies, it'll be able to afford to slash these prices.

What else has been promised?

T-Mobile has made formal commitments to the FCC to not raise prices for three years. Additionally, last month the company announced several other promises to help sweeten the deal, such as a $15-a-month phone plan; a pledge to offer free 5G service to police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians for the next decade; and a program to offer home broadband access and a mobile hotspot for free to 10 million low-income households with children.

In negotiations with individual states, T-Mobile has also promised not to cut jobs and to keep customer service centers located in the US.

These promises have worked to peel off five states from the lawsuit. Lawyers for the companies have settled with Texas, Nevada, Mississippi, Florida and Colorado. Colorado, which is where Dish is headquartered, has not only withdrawn from the litigation, it's also joined T-Mobile in its legal defense.

At one point, the lawsuit had as many as 18 plaintiffs, with Washington, DC, and 17 states. Now 13 states are suing to block the merger.

T-Mobile racks up cellphone customers as it awaits merger outcome

  T-Mobile racks up cellphone customers as it awaits merger outcome T-Mobile continues to do its 'Un-carrier' thing, as it waits for a federal judge to decide the fate of its $26 billion merger with Sprint. The deal,announced in 2018, has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Justice. But it could be derailed by a lawsuit filed by a group of state attorneys general, led by California and New York, seeking to stop the merger. The state AGs argue the merger would hurt competition and raise prices for consumers. A two-week trial in federal court in New York commenced in December.

T - Mobile and Sprint say a merger is needed because Sprint by itself is weak and getting weaker. Sprint ’s network quality is worse than its rivals', and it has been losing customers But the company would still need to figure out a new strategy for creating a strong 5G network without Sprint 's spectrum.

T - Mobile and Sprint provide cheaper alternatives to Verizon and AT&T, and T - Mobile has branded itself the “Un-carrier,” one that has made consumer-friendly changes such as bringing back unlimited-data plans and shattering two-year service contracts. There are concerns that less competition would

As for how the companies will combat the antitrust allegations made by the states, sources close to the companies say they'll argue that there's plenty of competition in the wireless market, namely from cable providers, like Comcast and Charter. These cable providers use a combination of Verizon's wireless network and their own Wi-Fi networks to provide mobile phone service to their cable subscribers.

The deal with Dish

But T-Mobile and Sprint also believe that the deal struck with Dish will establish another key national carrier that'll provide competition in the market.

Dish already owns billions of dollars' worth of its own spectrum, but the company has yet to build its own wireless network. Some have accused Dish of hoarding valuable wireless spectrum, and it has yet to make a major announcement about the plans for its spectrum.

Purchasing the divested prepaid businesses, getting additional airwaves and adding the ability to begin offering service on the T-Mobile network while it builds its own would make it easier and more cost-effective for Dish to finally become a wireless competitor.

Dish's chairman and CEO, Charlie Ergen, says the company is ready to enter the market and compete. He says the deal struck among regulators, T-Mobile and Dish is a win-win-win.

"That company (Sprint) now gets stronger, and T-Mobile gets stronger against the two large incumbents, AT&T and Verizon," Ergen said following the company's earnings call last month. "And as part of the transaction, Dish builds a greenfield network that will be the envy of the world ... which will bring not only competition to the marketplace, but will bring innovation in a way that you just can't do with incumbent networks."

T-Mobile and Sprint are still willing to negotiate a settlement, according to people familiar with their thinking. And a deal could still shake out once the trial begins next week. But if a settlement can't be reached, a judge will have the final say.

The published on Dec. 6 at 12:51 p.m. PT.

Sprint is shutting down Virgin Mobile ahead of planned T-Mobile merger .
Sprint is getting ready for its planned T-Mobile merger by axing one of its prepaid brands. The telecom is shutting down Virgin Mobile service and will transfer all customers to Boost Mobile starting the week of February 2nd. You'll keep your phone and number in "most instances," and will move to a "comparable or better" plan at no additional charge. Your mobile broadband device won't carry over, though, and you'll have to change your payment options if you rely on either PayPal or 45/90-day top-ups.When asked, Sprint didn't say when Virgin would shut down completely, or what would happen to Sprint's in-house prepaid customers.

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