The news is official as of today. Which means there is at least one change right on the surface: a new Chief Executive Officer. That’s right, the long-time former CEO, the infamous John Legere, is stepping down from the role effective immediately and T-Mobile’s former Chief Operations Officer, Mike Sievert, is stepping up as the new CEO (as planned). Legere was an essential figure in getting T-Mobile’s fortunes turned around in the United States, taking on Verizon and AT&T and winning over a lot of new subscribers for the Magenta Carrier.
And, over the years, T-Mobile has made it known that acquiring Sprint –which eventually became the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S. as T-Mobile’s numbers grew– was a primary goal. But even over the last year the legal hurdles have been numerous, and at times it didn’t look like the merger would actually happen.
The New T-Mobile’s commitment to building the world’s best broad and deep nationwide 5G network, which will bring lightning-fast speeds to urban areas and underserved rural communities alike, is more critical than ever, as reliable connectivity has become so important to Americans. With 14 times more capacity in six years than standalone T-Mobile has today, the New T-Mobile network will be able to offer unmatched value to consumers, with better service at lower prices. The company will also continue to focus on its commitment to customers and being a force for good. 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. Synergies achieved from the integration have the potential to unlock massive scale and unleash at least $43 billion in value for shareholders.
T-Mobile had to announce a lot of aspirational moves to help push this long. Back in November of last year the company unveiled several new initiatives that would help even more customers access not only a 5G network powered by T-Mobile and Sprint, but also services for first responders and students. Those were packaged under the “5G for Good” brand, and T-Mobile made it perfectly clear at the time that the only way it could get these initiatives off the ground is by acquiring Sprint.
With Legere stepping down, he will remain on T-Mobile’s board through June of this year.
As for Sprint customers, what happens next remains to be seen. T-Mobile’s announcement today doesn’t say anything is changing for those customers right away, at least. One of the fears of losing a fourth major competitor in the wireless industry is pricing, and one of the things T-Mobile had to agree on to get this merger approved was that it would keep its rate plans “the same or better” for the next three years.
Finally, Dish, which is part of this as well. To get final approval from the Justice Department, T-Mobile had to agree to sell Sprint’s prepaid labels –Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile– to Dish. That company will also be allowed to piggyback off of T-Mobile’s network for seven years. The goal? To use what is left behind by Sprint to build out a new nationwide network to take on the new T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, which will, hopefully, add a fourth major wireless carrier back into the mix at some point in the future.
So, there we go. We’re now down from four major wireless carriers in the U.S. to three. What do you think of this merger? Is it the right move? And if you’re on Sprint, what do you hope happens next? Let us know in the comments below.