Advance Notice: Briefs

Settlement reached in T-Mobile/Sprint merger

By: - March 13, 2020 12:28 pm
AG William Barr

U.S. Attorney General William Barr in Washington, DC. The DOJ approved the Sprint-T-Mobile merger last year. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and a coalition of attorneys general reached a settlement to end their legal challenge of a T-Mobile and Sprint merger.

The initial legal challenge, brought by multiple state attorneys general across the country, claimed the merger between the cell phone giants was unlawful. The coalition was concerned the merger would reduce competition and increase prices for consumers. But the settlement, announced Wednesday by Nessel, includes agreed-upon terms to protect low-income consumers and T-Mobile and Sprint employees.

Attorney General Dana Nessel at the Mackinac Policy Conference, May 29, 2019 | Andrew Roth

“The terms of this settlement are reasonable and achieved some of the goals my office was fighting for – principally, assurances that this merger will not adversely impact vulnerable consumers,” Nessel said in a press release.

Terms of the settlement are:

  • T-Mobile will make low-cost plans available in plaintiff states
  • T-Mobile will keep some plan rates at the same price for at least two years
  • Mobile broadband will be made available to “qualifying low-income households” with children in school in plaintiff states
  • T-Mobile and Sprint employees in good standing “will receive an offer of substantially similar employment” after the companies close and a new one is opened
  • T-Mobile is to increase the participation rate in its Diversity and Inclusion Program to 60% “within three years of the transaction” 
  • Each plaintiff state will be reimbursed by T-Mobile for costs of investigation efforts
  • The attorneys general will not appeal the lower court’s decision

“This settlement not only provides financial safeguards for low-income households and customers, but requires T-Mobile to retain employees in good standing, increase the diversity of its workforce and reimburse Michigan taxpayers for legal expenses resulting from this lawsuit,” Nessel said. 

The 14-state coalition first filed the complaint against the merger in June 2019 and voiced concerns when the U.S. Department of Justice approved the merger in July 2019. 

U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero ruled in favor of T-Mobile and Sprint in February. 

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C.J. Moore
C.J. Moore

C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She is a journalism graduate student at Michigan State University.