The US mobile market faced a major shake-up, as T-Mobile US and Sprint closed a long-pending merger after nearly two years of work and handed the reins of the combined company to a new CEO.

Effective today (1 April), Sprint shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange, with the merged company listed on NASDAQ.

The move sees T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert (pictured, left) take on his new role as CEO around a month earlier than planned. Long-time chief John Legere (pictured, right) originally intended to stay until the end of his contract on 30 April, but explained in a statement it made more sense for Sievert to “assume his leadership role on day one of the new company”.

Legere was credited with turning T-Mobile’s performance around after his appointment in 2012, orchestrating its Uncarrier approach which challenged established rivals AT&T and Verizon.

Sievert noted the operator’s accomplishments since were “the result of his vision for what a different kind of wireless provider could be.”

Legere remains a member of the board until the company’s AGM in June.

Market dynamic
The transaction creates a massive third competitor in the US, with around 140 million mobile customers, revenue of about $77 billion, and a spectrum portfolio of approximately 300MHz of nationwide airwaves spanning low-, mid- and high-band frequencies.

T-Mobile stated the combination will deliver 14-times more capacity than the operators had alone within the next six years. It already pledged to deliver 5G to 99 per cent of the population over the same period.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live (MWL) little will change for customers in the near term, though all stores will quickly begin serving subscribers of both former companies.

While the US Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission cleared the deal in 2019, closing was delayed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and a legal challenge by 14 state attorney generals.

The pair only today received sign-off from a judge regarding merger conditions proposed by the DoJ, as required by the Tunney Act.

A T-Mobile representative told MWL there is “no longer any need for CPUC approval”, but it would continue to work with the body to close a “review proceeding” by 16 April.