The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint — the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers — cleared one of its last major hurdles when a judge sided with the companies in a lawsuit brought by attorneys general in more than a dozen states.
Judge Victor Marrero rejected three core arguments made by the attorneys general when ruling in favor of T-Mobile: That the combined companies would hurt competition; that Sprint could be a viable wireless carrier on its own; and that a deal to sell some of T-Mobile’s wireless spectrum to Dish Network wouldn’t be enough to prop it up as a competitive alternative.
T-Mobile executives took a victory lap following the ruling Tuesday morning.
“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!” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement.
Legere said the two companies will form a “supercharged un-carrier” that will be good for customers and competition with incumbent powers AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile began rolling out its nationwide 5G network in December, and the merger is critical to the success of that plan.
????ATTN: America ????
The moment we've been waiting for – we WON in Court!! The #NewTMobile is now 1️⃣ step closer to being finalized!! The new Supercharged Un-carrier will provide benefits for ALL customers & drive competition! We can't wait!???? key info: https://t.co/szV2VJEcxw
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 11, 2020
After celebrating the ruling, Legere pivoted to fire a shot across the bow at T-Mobile’s wireless competitors, as well as rivals in the TV business, now that T-Mobile has its own cable service.
“Look out Dumb and Dumber and Big Cable – we are coming for you … and you haven’t seen anything yet,” Legere said.
T-Mobile and Sprint announced plans to merge in April 2018, a deal that would create a $146 billion wireless carrier under the T-Mobile banner. Legere plans to step down from his executive role following the merger and T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert will take over.
The lawsuit filed in June by state attorneys general challenged the $26.5 billion deal, which was previously approved by the Justice Department and FCC. The 13 states and the District of Columbia claimed that combining the carriers would hurt consumers and competition.
CNBC notes that the deal still has to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission before it can close. T-Mobile stock is up nearly 12 percent this morning, while Sprint shares spiked 73 percent.