The seven-year merger saga involving T-Mobile US (TMUS -2.01%) and Sprint will end in a couple of weeks, at the hands of a third participant. T-Mobile just finalized the last part of the merger agreement, which offloads Sprint's prepaid mobile services to DISH Network (DISH -3.00%) along with a basket of radio spectrum licenses, creating a new national carrier to keep four major network names available on a nationwide level.
The story so far
Dish's acquisition of the listed Sprint assets was originally expected to happen by June 1, but the companies continued to negotiate the terms of this deal past that deadline.
Dish chairman Charlie Ergen reportedly demanded that all of Dish's prepaid mobile subscribers should be able to use T-Mobile's full network rather than the less impressive Sprint infrastructure. This sticking point held up the $1.4 billion payment from Dish to T-Mobile, even though the whole deal was designed under antitrust orders from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The deal talks were going poorly enough that T-Mobile was rumored to be looking for another buyer to fulfill the DOJ-ordered deal and complete the final piece of the Sprint transaction.
The last chapter
An SEC filing put those rumblings to rest on Thursday. The final agreement includes the 7 years of access to T-Mobile's network that Ergen desired. Specifically, Dish will be able to "cross-provision any new or existing customer of the prepaid business with a compatible handset onto the T-Mobile network."
Dish will take over Sprint's prepaid mobile services on July 1, 2020, including the Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint Prepaid brands. No mention was made of changes to the buyout price or fees related to the delay.