New York court clears way for $US26.5 billion T-Mobile, Sprint merger

T-Mobile US Inc won court approval for its US$26.5 billion takeover of Sprint Corp, defeating a state-led lawsuit that sought to block the industry-altering wireless deal.

The decision by a district judge in Manhattan is a huge win for T-Mobile and its owner Deutsche Telekom AG, as well as SoftBank Group Corp, Sprint’s parent. The combined company—which will operate under the T-Mobile name, will have a regular monthly subscriber base of about 80 million—in the same league as AT&T Inc, which has 75 million subscribers, and Verizon Communications Inc, which has 114 million.

After the merger, T-Mobile will have more spectrum—the frequencies through which wireless signals are transmitted—than any other carrier. This larger capacity will give the combined company an advantage as the industry transitions to the next generation of wireless technology, the much-faster 5G standard.

The ruling comes almost two years after the deal was first announced. The states’ lawsuit was the last major hurdle to the deal after it secured the blessing of regulators at the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department’s antitrust division. It still needs approvals from California’s utility board and a federal judge in Washington who must sign off on the Justice Department settlement.

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