While there are still a few more hurdles left to go, it looks as though the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile is actually going to happen. In early February Judge Victor Marrero issued a ruling in favor of the merger, dismissing the lawsuit filed by multiple state attorneys general. This ruling clears the way for the merger to move forward, which thanks to the stipulations demanded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), means that DISH Network is about to become the fourth largest wireless carrier in the country.
In his ruling, Judge Marrero said that “the Court is persuaded that the presence of Dish as a new entrant will constitute a substantial incentive to competition… Dish is undeniably well-equipped to enter the market by virtue of its large spectrum portfolio, which is worth roughly $22 billion and rivals Verizon’s in size. This large spectrum position combines significant quantities of both low-and mid-band spectrum capable of supporting highly data-intensive consumer uses.”
Now that the merger is finally moving forward, DISH is ready to begin the process of building out their own network. While the details of the conditions set forth by the DOJ give DISH access to T-Mobile’s own network for the next seven years, the success of DISH’s foray into the wireless space depends on them creating a competitive network of their own. That means 5G.
DISH co-founder and chairman Charlie Ergen released a statement about the ruling. “We appreciate Judge Marrero’s thorough evaluation of this merger,” said Ergen. “The ruling, in addition to the DoJ and FCC approvals, accelerates our ability to deploy the nation’s first virtualized, standalone 5G network and bring 5G to America.”
This merger has been pending since 2018, which means DISH has been preparing for this merger to go through for quite a while. The Colorado-based company has already hired two senior wireless executives to help them get their services up and running—Stephen Bye the former CEO of Connective Wireless and Marc Rouanne formerly of Nokia.
As part of this deal, DISH is inheriting Sprint’s Boost Wireless and all of its customers. It’s unclear what DISH will do with that service, though many experts hope that they keep it as their prepaid brand.
In the same state Ergen said that “We are eager to begin serving Boost customers while aggressively growing the business as a new competitor, bringing lower prices, greater choice and more innovation to consumers. We look forward to the Boost employees and dealers joining the DISH family.”
DISH is not a wireless carrier yet, but they are well on their way. Sprint and T-Mobile have both said that they plan on having the merger finalized by April 1, 2020. Rest assured, DISH will be ready to step into its role as a major wireless carrier when that time comes.