New reports suggest that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger could finally be close to getting approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dish Network and T-Mobile have reached a divestiture deal that would help get T-Mo and Sprint's merger approved, according to CNBC. The two companies have agreed on the major parts of the divestiture deal, which is said to include a revenue-sharing agreement as well as Dish buying up spectrum and Boost Mobile from T-Mobile and Sprint.
The DOJ is said to be concerned that the agreement isn't enough to ensure that Dish will be a competitive fourth carrier in the U.S., which is something the Justice Department wants before it approves the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. The DOJ is pushing T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom to give Dish unlimited access to the T-Mobile-Sprint network for six to seven years while Dish builds out its own network. T-Mo has reportedly pushed back on that, saying that Dish should only get access to around 12.5 percent of the network's capacity.
T-Mobile is also reportedly asking that no strategic investor take more than a 5 percent stake in Dish Network. Dish is said to be interested in getting a partner to help it build out its 5G network, and T-Mo wants to make sure that Dish can't rely on a major company like Google or Amazon to quickly build out Dish's network.
When they originally announced their merger, T-Mobile and Sprint said that they expected the deal would close in the first half of 2019. We're now officially outside of that window, but FCC Chairman has come out in support of the merger. Now the deal needs approval from the Department of Justice and California's Public Utilities Commission. The merger is facing some opposition, though, as several state attorneys general have sued to block the deal because they feel it could reduce competition, raise prices, and hurt jobs.