T-Mobile and Sprint say that they'll sell off Boost Mobile if their merger is approved. Some critics of the T-Mo-Sprint merger have said that it could harm prepaid consumers due to fewer choices and higher prices, as the new T-Mobile would have around 42 percent of the prepaid market with Boost, Virgin, and Metro.
If the merger is approved, T-Mobile says it will find a "serious, credible, financially capable and independent" buyer for Boost. It will also offer this buyer a six-year wholesale MVNO agreement that it pledges will be "attractive".
T-Mobile and Sprint have also made commitments regarding 5G and in-home broadband. In three years, T-Mobile says it will cover 97 percent of the U.S. population with 5G on low-band spectrum and 75 percent of the population with 5G on mid-band spectrum. In six years, those numbers will grow to 99 percent and 88 percent, respectively.
T-Mo goes on to commit to covering 85 percent of rural America with 5G on low-band spectrum in three years and 90 percent in six years. In those six years, 90 percent of the U.S. population will have access to download speeds greater than 100Mbps, says T-Mobile, and 99 percent will get speeds greater than 50Mbps.
When it comes to in-home broadband, T-Mobile says its service will be marketed to 9.6 million eligible households, at least 2.6 million of which will be rural, within three years of the merger's close. Within six years of closing, T-Mobile expects to have its in-home broadband marketed to at least 28 million eligible households, 5.6 million of which are rural.
Finally, T-Mobile has once again committed to not raising its prices if the merger is approved. T-Mo says that it will offer the same or better rate plans at the same or better prices for three years following the merger, including 5G.
Following these commitments, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has come out in support of the merger. “In light of the significant commitments made by T-Mobile and Sprint as well as the facts in the record to date, I believe that this transaction is in the public interest and intend to recommend to my colleagues that the FCC approve it," says Chairman Pai. "This is a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans. We should seize this opportunity."
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has also come out in support of the deal, saying it will bring "more competition and an accelerated buildout of fast, 5G services."
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel isn't quite as convinced. "We've seen this kind of consolidation in airlines and with drug companies. It hasn't worked out well for consumers," Commissioner Rosenworcel says. "But now the FCC wants to bless the same kind of consolidation for wireless carriers. I have serious doubts."
Overall this is a good day for T-Mobile and Sprint's merger odds, with the company earning the blessing of the FCC Chairman after committing to divesting one of its three prepaid brands. The deal must also be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice before it can actually close, though, and right now it's unclear how the DOJ will come out.