T-Mobile and Sprint are nearing a $6 billion payday for their assets in a move to gain regulatory approval for their $26.5 billion merger, with satellite TV provider Dish Network the buyer, a report says. The assets reportedly include the Boost Mobile prepaid wireless service and wireless spectrum.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai greenlit the merger in May, on the condition that T-Mobile and Sprint divested Boost Mobile as well as requiring them to build out 5G in rural areas and offer wireless home broadband good enough to substitute fixed-line.
However, it was reported that the US Department of Justice wants T-Mobile and Sprint to form a new wireless carrier. The merger would reduce the number of major carriers from four to three, with Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim wanting four carriers to remain for more competition, according to Bloomberg.
Dish could announce the $6 billion deal later this week, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.
While the FCC has approved the transaction, the merger still needs approval from the DOJ. Earlier this month, the DOJ was considering halting the deal, and possibly requiring the carriers to divest wireless spectrum or other parts of their businesses.
It's also possible the DOJ could add more conditions to the deal should those be met.
Amazon was last rumored to be considering buying Boost Mobile so it could use T-Mobile's wireless network for the next six years as part of an attached wholesale deal, while Dish was reportedly also considering a merger with AT&T's DirecTV service.
Dish Network's spectrum holdings — it has been hoarding spectrum for years but has yet to build out its own satellite network — could also be a valuable acquisition for AT&T as it rolls out its 5G network. Back in 2017, Dish Network spent $6.2 billion for even more spectrum in the 600MHz band.
T-Mobile, Sprint and Dish didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
First published at 1:37 p.m. PT on June 18.
Updated at 4:40 p.m. PT: adds details on merger conditions
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