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After waiting in limbo for over a year, the Justice Department finally approved the merger between mobile giants T-Mobile and Sprint. When will the merger be completed, and what will this massive business deal mean for each company’s respective customers?

Countdown to merger

Sprint and T-Mobile, by themselves, are two of the biggest mobile carriers in the country. The companies announced their plans for the $26 billion mergers back in 2018 but had to wait until the United States Justice Department approved the deal. The two companies were planning to complete their agreement in the first few months of 2019, but legal hurdles held them back from signing on the dotted line.

Right now, pre-merger, T-Mobile is worth $55 billion, and Sprint is worth $26 billion. The newly merged company will keep the T-Mobile name, making it the third-largest telecom company in the country. It will also have the second-largest wireless network — even combining the two companies, Verizon still has the largest wireless network in the United States.

Both companies are ready for this merger, but they’ll have to make some changes before they can sign on that dotted line and make the change official.

Changes on the horizon

The Sprint that joins with T-Mobile won’t look like the company does today. Currently, the company owns both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile — prepaid phone companies that support over 20,000 cell sites as well as hundreds of retail locations. Both of these companies, as well as some other spectrum assets, will need to be sold. Dish will be picking up these two companies, setting them up to take Sprint’s position as the fourth major mobile company in the world.

If that happens, it appears that it the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint won’t upset the mobile company landscape as dramatically as industry experts first believed.

Customer impacts

How will these changes affect the current customers of T-Mobile, Sprint, and Sprint’s prepaid companies?

Your bill won’t climb for a few years — both companies have promised not to raise their prices for at least three years.

Current sprint customers might have to get new phones since T-Mobile will be in charge after the merger is complete. T-Mobile phones use a GSM network. Sprint (along with Verizon) uses CDMA, which means existing Sprint phones and sim cards might not be compatible with the network after the two companies become one.

Both companies currently have free streaming options — Netflix with T-Mobile, and Hulu with Sprint. The merger will likely affect both of these partnerships, but there’s no news yet as to how or when that will happen.

Time to change companies?

We’ve just learned that the Justice Department approved the merger between these two mobile giants, contingent on the sale of Boost and Virgin Mobile to Dish. It’s too early to know how this business deal will change the mobile landscape or how it will affect customers who might be wondering whether they need to switch services before everything gets finalized later this year.

As it stands, there will still be four major mobile companies once the merger is done, assuming Dish is planning to carry through and purchase Sprint’s pre-paid phone companies. Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks are not compatible, so since T-Mobile is taking the lead, Sprint customers may have to buy new phones once the merger completes.

It’s difficult to project everything that will happen once the merger is complete, especially since the news of the Justice Department’s approval just broke. We’ll get plenty of information in the months to come as both companies release their plans to move forward.

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