T-Mobile & Sprint Complete Merger, John Legere Steps Down

T-Mobile has completed its $30 billion merger with Sprint, creating what the company dubs the New T-Mobile (the formal name will remain T-Mobile). Chief executive John Legere stepped down before the April 30 date in the contract, and his successor, former chief operating officer Mike Sievert, has taken his place. The new business, now with about 100 million customers, plans to use the combined infrastructure to ramp up the transition to 5G, with the capacity to offer speeds up to 15 times faster in the next six years and 14 times the capacity, reaching 99 percent of the U.S. with 5G coverage. 

Engadget reports that the network also just launched a lower-cost $15 5G plan and unveiled an “initiative to deliver free Internet access and devices to 10 million low-income homes over the next five years.” Sprint customers will keep their existing plans, and “T-Mobile has promised to keep plans ‘the same or better’ for Sprint customers in the next three years as the unification is completed.”

Although the merger shrinks the number of major U.S. carriers, it “does give Dish the resources it needs to start its own service.” Whether T-Mobile will make good on its “numerous promises about maintaining prices and jobs” remains to be seen. Sprint, however, “was struggling … [and] has continued to bleed cash and lose customers.” In theory, Engadget adds, the merger “ensures that T-Mobile can better compete with AT&T and Verizon.”

“To obtain regulatory approval, T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to sell off certain assets, including Sprint’s prepaid wireless business, to the satellite TV service Dish,” reports The New York Times. “The pay-TV operator hopes to become a new fourth carrier, in place of Sprint.”

A T-Mobile press release on Business Wire reports that, “the enhanced scale and financial strength of the combined company will drive a planned investment of $40 billion into its network, business and more over the next three years,” with the “synergies achieved from the integration” having the potential to “unleash at least $43 billion in value for shareholders.”

Legere, who will continue as a member of the board of directors until the next annual meeting this June, “engineered a turnaround of the company as T-Mobile,” which became “the fastest growing company in wireless, capturing 80 percent of the industry’s postpaid phone growth from 2013 to today.” Its marketing campaign dubbed the company the Un-carrier, for eliminating “annual service contracts, overages and roaming fees.”

The new T-Mobile will offer “average 5G speeds up to eight times faster than current LTE in just a few years and 15 times faster over the next six years … [and provide] in excess of 100 Mbps to 90 percent of the U.S. population,” within six years. The company plans to cover 90 percent of rural Americans “with average 5G speeds of 50 Mbps, up to two times faster than broadband on average.”

“The network is at the core of everything we do as a business, and it’s critically important for keeping customers connected to each other, their communities and the world,” said T-Mobile president of technology Neville Ray. T-Mobile also vowed to “provide much-needed competition in home Internet to Big Cable.”