The combination of the country’s third and fourth-largest wireless carriers was annnounced in the spring of 2018 and had to overcome a number of regulatory hurdles and legal challenges.
To win a green-light from the Department of Justice, T-Mobile agreed to sell Sprint’s prepaid businesses including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile to Dish, which will be able to sell T-Mobile wireless service under the Dish brands for seven years. The government’s idea was for Dish to become another national wireless carrier, creating more competition in the market.
On a conference call in February, Dish CEO Charlie Ergen was upbeat about the merger and Dish’s prospects for its network. “We’ve put in a lot of building blocks in place for it,” he said.
The new company will be called T-Mobile and have a combined customers base of over 126 million. No immediate plans were revealed for the Sprint brand. Shares will continue to trade on the Nasdaq market with the symbol ‘TMUS.’
In announcing the deal, T-Mobile promised that the rollout of a nationwide 5G network will bring “lightning-fast speeds” to urban areas and underserved rural communities. It plans to invest $40 billion in its network over the next three years and said synergies have the potential to unlock at least $43 billion in value for shareholders. The combined company aims to be an alternative to in-home broadband.
Mike Sievert will become CEO effective immediately, replacing John Legere, who will remain on the board through the end of his term in June.
“During this extraordinary time, it has become abundantly clear how vital a strong and reliable network is to the world we live in. The New T-Mobile’s commitment to delivering a transformative broad and deep nationwide 5G network is more important and more needed than ever and what we are building is mission-critical for consumers,” said Sievert. “With this powerful network, the New T-Mobile will deliver real choice and value to wireless and home broadband customers.”
Said Legere: “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.”