Rumors have said that T-Mobile and Sprint may get approval for their merger from the Justice Department this week after striking a deal to sell assets to Dish Network. Now info on that Dish deal have leaked out.
Dish will reportedly pay $5 billion for wireless assets from T-Mobile and Sprint. This includes $1.5 billion for prepaid mobile businesses — likely including Boost Mobile — and $3.5 billion on spectrum, says Bloomberg.
Also said to be included in the deal is a seven-year wholesale agreement that will allow Dish to sell service using T-Mobile’s network. This will allow Dish to become a wireless provider immediately while also giving it time to build out its own wireless network. T-Mobile is also expected to provide three years of operational support for prepaid customers shifting to Dish.
Finally, the deal reportedly states that Dish can’t sell the assets it’s buying from T-Mobile and Sprint or give control of the agreement to a third-party for three years.
While the Justice Department hasn’t made any official announcements about T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger, rumors have said that antitrust chief Makan Delrahim wants the two carriers to help create a fourth competitive U.S. carrier before he approves the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. Dish is widely thought to be the best company to become this fourth carrier because it’s already got a large collection of spectrum.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has already signaled his support of the merger, and so getting Justice Department approval would bring T-Mobile and Sprint closer to completing their merger.
Today’s report says that the Justice Department could announce its approval on Thursday, and that’s supported by T-Mobile’s announcement that it will reveal its Q2 2019 earnings on Thursday. T-Mo says it will send out a press release for its Q2 earnings at 9:00 am ET and hold an earnings call at 4:30 pm ET, which is a considerably larger window of time than previous earnings announcements which are usually half an hour to an hour. This longer window of time will enable the Justice Department to get its announcement out and for that news to get around before T-Mobile holds its earnings call, during which it’ll likely get questions about the merger.
While T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger will get closer to completion by getting Justice Department approval, it won’t be completely done. The deal is facing a lawsuit from 13 state attorneys general who want to block the merger because they feel it will harm competition and raise prices for consumers.