A federal judge has approved T-Mobile's $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint, rejecting objections from a group of states and removing a major obstacle to a shakeup in the wireless industry.
“Today was a huge victory for this merger … and now we are FINALLY able to focus on the last steps to get this merger done," said T-Mobile CEO
John Legere in a statement.
To win federal approval, T-Mobile and Sprint had agreed to sell multiple assets to Dish in order to create a new fourth competitor. The new Dish wireless network will start life with about 9 million subscribers.
Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said he was "pleased" with the decision in a statement. "The T-Mobile-Sprint merger will help close the digital divide and secure United States leadership in 5G," he said. "After the merger, T-Mobile has committed to bringing 5G to 97% of our nation’s population within three years and 99% of Americans within six years. Its 5G network will also reach deep into rural areas, with 85% of rural Americans covered within three years and 90% covered within six years."