One of the pressing concerns about the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint is that it would shrink the market for large US wireless operators from four to three. However, according to a report by Bloomberg tonight, the Ministry of Justice may press to prevent: apparently DoJ will see T-Mobile and Sprint "lay the groundwork" for a brand new carrier to appear as a condition of any approval of the merger.
Of the sounds of this, this would be a spun mobile provider with its own network cobbled together by assets and spectrum belonging to T-Mobile and Sprint. Bloomberg does not mention how receptive the two carriers are to this idea, nor the details of how everything will play out. But even conceptually, this solution seems to oppose one of the core arguments that T-Mobile and Sprint have made to come together: they say collisions will create a much larger and more formidable competitor for Verizon Wireless and AT & T and run down prices for consumers.
. Giving away enough spectrum and network resources to create a new national carrier will surely lead to a weaker "New T-Mobile" than the two companies originally hoped for. T-Mobile and Sprint have argued that their merger would lead to an ambitious and comprehensive distribution of 5G technology across the US over the next few years. Earlier this month, both sides agreed on what they insist on "enforceable" deadlines for 5G expansion, enough for the FCC leader Ajit Pai to say he would vote for the deal. But critics say that T-Mobile and Sprint's promise to cover 97 percent of the US with 5G within three years (covering 99 percent of Americans in six years) is meaningless and difficult to measure accurately.
The conditions that T-Mobile and Sprint reached to get the FCC's blessing seemingly not been enough to oscillate the Justice Department's antitrust victim, Makan Delrahim, according to Bloomberg's report . He is still said to be worried about shrinking his competition, which has led to this idea of, well, just making another carrier, so the US will still be left with four if the deal is ultimately thumbs up. Bloomberg notes that discussions between operators and DoJ have been "productive", with both John Mobile and John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, and Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint.