Department of Justice reportedly opposes current proposal for T-Mobile-Sprint merger

T-Mobile CEO John Legere

Overland Park-based Sprint and T-Mobile shares fell after a Wall Street Journal report cast doubt on the likelihood of government approval of their $26.5 billion merger.

Sprint and T-Mobile are in the final stages of a merger, nearing completion. Now, more than any time previously, it looks like the T-Mobile Sprint merger could actually happen. T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to merge under the T-Mobile banner back in April 2018.

The nations third- and fourth-biggest carriers by subscribers are facing challenges on several fronts, but their most immediate hurdle comes from the Justice Departments antitrust division, which is considering whether the deal would present an unacceptable threat to competition.

The T-Mobile/Sprint deal would reduce the number of nationwide mobile carriers from four to three, limiting customer choice across the United States.

T-Mobile and Sprint began their merger push a year ago by claiming that neither company could build a robust 5G network while operating alone. It cited people familiar with the matter. Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure also claimed that the "article is not accurate", adding that Sprint "continue [s] to have discussions with regulators about our proposed merger".

DOJ staffers' recommendations aren't the final word at the agency. That said, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is also looking into the proposed merger and wants to nail down some logistics, such as possible cost savings and how the merger would provide home broadband service.

It's said that T-Mobile could still turn things around by offering assets sales to alleviate the DOJ's concerns, but it's now unclear what the next steps are. The report said the government and the companies are still talking.

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