Texas leaves antitrust suit, supports T-Mobile-Sprint merger

Consumer News

FILE – In this April 27, 2010 file photo, a woman using a cell phone walks past T-Mobile and Sprint stores in New York. Published reports say a group of state attorneys general are planning a lawsuit to block a $26.5 billion merger of wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. It’s an unusual step ahead of a decision by federal antitrust authorities. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(AP) — The coalition of state attorneys general suing to stop the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile has lost another state, Texas, two weeks before trial is scheduled to begin.

Texas said Monday that it has made its own settlement with T-Mobile.

The state attorneys general go to trial Dec. 9, arguing that the T-Mobile-Sprint deal will raise prices and be bad for competition. Mississippi and Colorado left the coalition in October, but 14 states and the District of Columbia remain. The states are suing the company because they claim the deal would eliminate competition and drive up the price for consumers. T-Mobile has claimed the merger would provide better access and faster service, especially in rural areas.

T-Mobile is trying to buy Spring for $26.5 billion. The FCC voted 3-2 to approve the merger.

Texas says T-Mobile promised not to raise wireless prices in the state for five years and that it will build a next-generation 5G network in Texas.

T-Mobile has already promised a national 5G network and to keep prices steady for three years to federal regulators. They have approved the deal.

“My office is responsible for protecting consumers and this settlement ensures that the New T-Mobile is not in a position to overcharge Texans for wireless service, and at the same time, obligates the New T-Mobile to invest in a high-quality 5G network that will serve the needs of Texas’ growing economy, or face stiff financial penalties,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Our objectives in joining the initial lawsuit were to protect Texans from unnecessary price hikes and to ensure that Texans living in both urban and rural areas will not get stuck with substandard service as the market for wireless telecommunication services evolves to adopt new standards of technology with the power to transform the Texas economy. This agreement achieves those objectives.”

A Japanese company Softbank owns Sprint; Germany’s Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile.

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