Jul 26, 2019

DOJ ready to break silence on T-Mobile's Sprint deal

T-Mobile CEO John Legere, left. with Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Justice Department has called an 11 am ET press conference on Friday, with antitrust chief Makan Delrahim set to "announce a significant merger enforcement action." The agency has reportedly been pushing Sprint and T-Mobile to divest enough assets to create a viable fourth national wireless carrier in order to secure approval for the $26 billion merger.

Why it matters: According to the Wall Street Journal, The DOJ has also been working to convince a number of state attorneys general, who have sued to block the deal, to approve the transaction with the new conditions.

Sprint and T-Mobile have been talking with Dish Network about selling some spectrum and prepaid business, though analysts have questioned just how viable a national player Dish would make.

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DOJ approves T-Mobile-Sprint deal with conditions

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Department of Justice has approved T-Mobile's deal to acquire Sprint, requiring the companies to divest some assets that Dish Networks can use to build a new fourth national U.S. wireless network.

Why it matters: T-Mobile and Sprint have argued that a combination of their resources will help them compete with market leaders Verizon and AT&T. Opponents of the deal argued that it will reduce competition.

Go deeperArrowJul 26, 2019

Dish chairman: We could have first 5G city up by late 2020

Dish chairman Charlie Ergen in 2012. Photo: Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Rather than try to convince skeptics he is serious about the wireless business, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen tells Axios he is going to focus on building a 5G network as fast as possible. Ideally, he said he wants the first city up and running by late next year.

Why it matters: With the deal announced on Friday, Dish has all the spectrum it needs to build a national 5G network, but critics have been skeptical the company has the commitment to do so.

Go deeperArrowJul 26, 2019

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen says history will vindicate him on 5G

Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen speaking at the University of Colorado in 2012. Photo: Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Charlie Ergen knows there are plenty of people who don't believe Dish has the skill or commitment to truly rival the national wireless carriers. But answering to critics is not where Dish's chairman is putting his energy.

"I don't personally believe we are going to change any skeptics' minds, and we are not going to try to. We're just going to do it. We'll go out and build a 5G city, and then people can see it and see why that is different and better."
— Ergen told me in an interview on Friday

What's happening: As first reported by Axios, Ergen's plan for Dish is to transform the Boost prepaid brand it's getting from Sprint into a full-service wireless effort and then go out and build a nationwide 5G network, one city at a time. Ideally, Ergen wants the first city with Dish's 5G network running by the end of 2020.

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019