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Bloomberg: T-Mobile's merger could require creating a competitor

The DoJ reportedly wants to see four major carriers even after a Sprint/T-Mobile merger.
Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
May 30, 2019
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While FCC commissioner Ajit Pai is ready to recommend approval of a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, the Department of Justice has been reportedly unconvinced. Now Bloomberg reports that one thing the two could do to convince unnamed "top" officials is to "lay the groundwork" for a new national wireless carrier. In previous years the Justice Department has balked at seeing the national wireless market from below the four major options, so it's a surprise to see this is as a condition, but it may not be one they're willing to meet.

The report's source claim Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim specifically is unconvinced by the claim that the two combining would make for a stronger third player against AT&T and Verizon. These concerns helped scuttle AT&T's attempt to take over T-Mobile in 2011, and a previous merger attempt by these two in 2014. Finally, an analyst interviewed suggests that a fourth option could come from a cable company combining spectrum it owns with a virtual network deal -- similar to Comcast's Verizon-powered mobile service. It's unclear whether or not any of this will happen, but if it doesn't, then we could be looking at yet another failed attempt once the deadline passes on July 29th.

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