Sprint, T-Mobile Merger May Close This Week: Report

The Justice Department could give the green light on the $26.5 billion mega-merger as soon as this week, according to a new report.

Sprint and T-Mobile may finally be able to close their $26.5 billion mega-merger, the carriers' third attempt at coming together.

Sprint and T-Mobile, the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the country, respectively, are on the brink of receiving approval from the Justice Department after a lengthy negotiation process that has lasted for months, according to a report published Sunday by Fox News.

The Department of Justice has said it will reveal its "settlement announcement," or its terms for the merger, by Wednesday or Thursday of this week, potentially even sooner, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

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[Related: Partners: Sprint, T-Mobile MegaMerger Could Create A 'Viable' Third Wireless Carrier Option For Channel, Business Customers]

The report said that, while unlikely, an antitrust division of the Justice Department could still sue the two companies to prevent the merger from taking place. The decision is expected to include merger terms from the Justice Department that Sprint and T-Mobile, once combined, would have to abide by, including the divestiture of assets that would lead to the creation of a fourth wireless network.

Sprint and T-Mobile did not respond to CRN's request for comment on the report before publication.

Sprint and T-Mobile have been courting each other for five years. The companies first attempted to make a deal in 2014, but regulators rejected the idea. In 2017, the companies tried again but plans fell through when Sprint's parent company, SoftBank, and T-Mobile's parent, Deutsche Telekom, couldn't agree on how much control each side would get after the merger was complete. Sprint and T-Mobile restarted talks and announced their intent to come together in 2018, and the companies have been struggling to gain approval since then.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in May said he would back the $26.5 billion merger after the two companies committed to several concessionsto get their deal to close. The concessions included committing to deploying a 5G network to cover 97 percent of the U.S. population within three years and 99 percent within six years after the merger is closed. They also included guaranteeing that 90 percent of Americans would have access to mobile broadband service with at least 100 Mbps and 99 percent with access to at least 50 Mbps. Sprint and T-Mobile also agreed to divest Boost Mobile. Despite the FCC's green light, the Department of Justice wasn’t on board with approving the merger at the time.

In June, nine states, including Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit to block the proposed $26.5 billion merger between the companies. The complaint said that the mega-merger would decrease competition and raise prices on consumers.

If the deal is approved, the newly formed company would keep the T-Mobile name and T-Mobile CEO John Legere and his management team would run day-to-day operations, the companies said. The carriers said last year that the combined company would retain both Sprint and T-Mobile's current headquarters—T-Mobile's current home in Bellevue, Wash., as well as Sprint's headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.—but Sprint earlier this month sold off a large portion of its headquarters to Occidental Management, dropping the carrier's presence in the Overland Park campus from 11 buildings to four, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.