A Judge OKs the T-Mobile and Sprint Deal, T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint could mean higher or lower phone bills, depending on which carrier you was already with.
T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint could mean higher or lower phone bills, depending on whom you ask.
A federal judge in New York ultimately took T-Mobile’s track record of aggressive competition into account in ruling Tuesday that the deal would be good for consumers. In doing so, he rejected a challenge by a group of states worried about reduced competition. Though the deal still needs a few more approvals, T-Mobile expects to close it as early as April 1.
Here’s what a combined T-Mobile-Sprint company could mean for you and your phone bill:
FOR MOST T-MOBILE AND SPRINT CUSTOMERS
Sprint customers will get a T-Mobile bill, but that transition may take a few years. If you are a T-Mobile customer, you might not see many changes. However, because the goal of the takeover is to roll out a next-generation, 5G cellular network, subscribers of both are ultimately expected to get faster service.
WHAT ABOUT PREPAID CUSTOMERS?
As part of the deal, Dish will get Sprint’s prepaid Boost Mobile customers. Dish has committed to building its own cellular network, but it will use T-Mobile’s for now, so customers aren’t supposed to see service quality drop.
HOW STRONG IS DISH?
That has yet to be tested.
Sprint is an existing company with more than 40 million customers. Dish would start from scratch building a network that will cost billions of dollars. It gets only 9 million customers from the deal and will have to fight to win more.
As for the network, Dish already owns spectrum, or airwave rights, but hasn’t been using it. The deal would give Dish additional airwaves that travel far and work well in rural areas. Dish is supposed to put those to use in its own network, but it has to rely on T-Mobile’s network in the meantime.
Dish says it will offer service to 70% of the U.S. population by 2023. But while it’s billed as 5G, Dish is promising speeds that are only slightly higher than what’s typical today.
Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen said in a statement that the company is eager to start serving Boost customers, while bringing consumers lower prices, greater choice and more innovation.
But it may take a while before Dish can challenge the bigger companies — if it ever does — the way T-Mobile developed a reputation as the “Un-carrier” by promoting consumer-friendly practices that shattered industry norms.