T-Mobile and Sprint are due to merge into a single entity in 2019, but both companies need a whole bunch of approvals from the United States government as well as regulators before that’s official. It certainly looks like there won’t be any significant setbacks, though. The wireless industry’s reshaping merger could be completed within the first few months of next year.
In an announcement this week, T-Mobile and Sprint confirmed the deal has been approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
The CFIUS, which includes representatives from other agencies within the U.S. government, examines foreign investments and how it impacts national security. It ensures all sides are acting in good faith and avoiding activities with international companies that may be targeting the U.S. on behalf of their own governments.
However, not everyone appears to be thrilled over the still-pending merger. Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are split on the deal, and a consortium stepped out to block T-Mobile and Sprint from joining together. The 4Competition Coalition includes Dish, C Spire, and the Rural Wireless Association. None of them want to see the merger complete and put pressure on their own businesses.
Although other companies can express concerns, the decision ultimately gets left to the U.S. government and its most important agencies.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense also submitted a combined review to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With those agencies, T-Mobile and Sprint described matters relating to national security and public safety. Still, the merger isn’t complete and needs some more approvals from other agencies.
It’s expected that the new T-Mobile will stop using Huawei-made network equipment in order to get the merger approved.
Moving forward, T-Mobile and Sprint will aim to get approval from the Department of Justice and the FCC. Then we’ll be looking at the nation’s third-largest carrier to take on Verizon and AT&T. Expect the new T-Mobile to also launch a 5G network and a live TV service in 2019.