With the multistate lawsuit seeking to block T-Mobile's (NASDAQ:TMUS) proposed megamerger with Sprint (NYSE:S) set to go to trial on Dec. 9, another two state attorneys general have now dropped opposition to the deal. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford have settled their concerns with T-Mobile, the state prosecutors announced on Monday.
The news comes a month after Colorado settled with the two companies as T-Mobile and Sprint continue to knock out opposition state by state. As might be expected, outgoing CEO John Legere is thrilled.
Incredible news that @TXAG Paxton is withdrawing from the State AG lawsuit to block the @TMobile & @Sprint merger! Texas knows that the #NewTMobile will create jobs and deliver 5G to rural areas of the state and beyond! Key info: https://t.co/szV2VJEcxw— John Legere (@JohnLegere) November 25, 2019
Great to see @NevadaAG Ford withdraw from the State AG lawsuit, too! He recognizes that #NewTMobile will create competition and bring affordable broadband access to Nevada and across the US, especially in rural areas! #5Gforall Key info: https://t.co/oaVuUfg688— John Legere (@JohnLegere) November 25, 2019
Keeping jobs deep in the heart of Texas
Paxton's settlement includes a commitment from the combined company not to increase prices for five years following the merger's closing. That's longer than the three years that T-Mobile has already committed to maintaining prices, but shorter than the seven years that it's expected to take for DISH Network to get its own wireless network up and running.
Proponents of the deal are relying on DISH to create a new wireless carrier in order to preserve competition, while critics argue that DISH's build-out is fraught with risks. In an op-ed in The Atlantic last month, dissenting FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote:
If all goes as planned, Dish Network will have a new, full-fledged wireless system in seven years. But seven years is a long time to wait for a fourth competitor with its own network facilities. In wireless technology, that's a lifetime. And if this jerry-rigged new competitor fails, consumers will be out of luck.
T-Mobile has agreed to build out its 5G network throughout Texas over the next six years, including rural areas of the state, while offering "substantially similar employment" to Texas residents that currently work for either T-Mobile or Sprint.
"My office is responsible for protecting consumers and this settlement ensures that the New T-Mobile is not in a position to overcharge Texans for wireless service, and at the same time, obligates the New T-Mobile to invest in a high-quality 5G network that will serve the needs of Texas' growing economy, or face stiff financial penalties," Paxton said in a statement.
What call center jobs are in Vegas stay in Vegas
Nevada's settlement is similar in a few ways. New T-Mobile has likewise committed to deploying 5G in Nevada and agreed to new low-priced plans for a period of six years, while offering existing retail employees new jobs with "comparable duties and wages." Employees' right to organize in unions will also be preserved, and Sprint's current call center in Las Vegas will be converted to a "customer experience center."
Additionally, customers in Nevada will see their data allotments slowly increase going forward, with the end result being that included data will "nearly double within four years." T-Mobile will also donate $30 million to charities that help fund entrepreneurs and small business owners who are women and minorities. That money may also be used to improve broadband for Native American tribes in the state at the discretion of the attorney general.
"With this settlement, T-Mobile and Sprint have demonstrated their commitment to preserve Nevada jobs, deploy a high speed 5G network across the State covering 83 percent of our rural communities, and offer low-price plans," Ford said in a statement. "Beyond these benefits, the New T-Mobile will make a significant investment to enhance service to our Native American Tribal communities, contribute to programs that enhance opportunities for minorities, women and small businesses."
With Texas and Nevada withdrawing, the lawsuit now includes 14 attorneys general representing 13 states and the District of Columbia.