T-Mobile US and Sprint conquered another major opponent of their proposed merger, reaching a settlement with California attorney general Xavier Becerra (pictured, centre) which spells an end to a legal bid by the state to block the deal.
Becerra, alongside New York attorney general Letitia James, led a coalition of 14 states in an unsuccessful attempt to scupper the merger in court. James announced last month she would not pursue an appeal after a judge ruled in Sprint and T-Mobile’s favour.
California’s settlement package largely formalises promises T-Mobile made in November 2019, requiring it to offer low-cost plans in the state for at least five years, and 100GB of free broadband and Wi-Fi hotspot access to low-income households over the same period.
The combined company must also offer all current staff “substantially similar employment”. The operators further committed to open a new customer service centre in California, and promised the total number of employees in the state three years after the deal’s close will meet or exceed today’s number.
Additionally, T-Mobile agreed to reimburse California and other coalition states up to $15 million for the cost of litigation challenging the merger.
In a press conference, Becerra hailed the settlement as proof “you can really come to terms even with those with whom you go to battle in court”. But he added the state would “do everything we can” to ensure “true competition” and fair pricing.
California’s decision to drop legal action lessens the likelihood remaining coalition states will press ahead with an appeal.
However, T-Mobile and Sprint are still waiting for merger approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, and for a federal judge to sign-off on merger conditions proposed by the US Department of Justice.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back