Saturday, 24 July 2021

Attorney General Becerra announces settlement ending the state’s challenge to T-Mobile, Sprint merger

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Wednesday announced a settlement with T-Mobile, resolving the state’s challenge to the company’s merger with Sprint.

The settlement includes terms to protect low-income subscribers, extend access to underserved communities, protect current T-Mobile and Sprint employees, and create jobs in California.

T-Mobile will reimburse California for the costs and fees of its investigation and its litigation challenging the merger.

This settlement ends the legal challenge brought by Attorney General Becerra leading a multistate coalition, which alleged that the merger was unlawful and would lead to reduced competition and increased prices for consumers.

“Our coalition vigorously challenged the T-Mobile/Sprint telecom merger over concerns that it would thwart competition and leave consumers with higher prices,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We took our case to court to ensure that, no matter its outcome, we'd protect innovation and fair prices. Though the district court approved the merger, its decision also made clear to companies that local markets matter in assessing the competitive impact of a merger and that no one should underestimate the role of state enforcers. Most importantly, today's settlement locks in new jobs and protections for vulnerable consumers, and it extends access to telecom services for our most underserved and rural communities."

As required by the settlement, the merged company is required to:

– Make low-cost plans available in California for at least 5 years, including a plan offering 2 GB of high-speed data at $15 per month and 5 GB of high speed data at $25 per month;
– Extend for at least an additional two years the rate plans offered by T-Mobile pursuant to its earlier FCC commitment, ensuring Californians can retain T-Mobile plans held in February 2019 for a total of five years;
– Offer 100 GB of no-cost broadband internet service per year for five years and a free mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device to 10 million qualifying low-income households not currently connected to broadband nationwide, as well as the option to purchase select Wi-Fi enabled tablets at the company’s cost for each qualifying household;
– Protect California jobs by offering all California T-Mobile and Sprint retail employees in good standing an offer of substantially similar employment. T-Mobile also commits that three years after the closing date, the total number of new T-Mobile employees will be equal to or greater than the total number of employees of the unmerged Sprint and T-Mobile companies;
– Create approximately 1,000 new jobs in California with a customer service center in Kingsburg;
– Increase diversity by increasing the participation rate in its employee Diversity and Inclusion program to 60 percent participation within three years; and
– Reimburse California and other coalition states up to $15 million for the costs of the investigation and litigation challenging the merger.

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