T-Mobile says Sprint deal may close as early as first-quarter next year
T-Mobile US’s Chief Financial Officer said there is a possibility that its $26 billion acquisition deal of Sprint will close as early as the first quarter of 2019.
T-Mobile, majority owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, agreed in April to buy wireless carrier Sprint and the deal was initially expected to close in the first half of 2019.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice are currently scrutinizing the deal.
“The only remaining thing that is happening is depositions with the DoJ, which have started and will be completed in a few weeks,” CFO J. Braxton Carter told the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference in Barcelona.
“At this point, it’s more pointing to the second quarter as more probable (but) it could still be first quarter,” Carter said.
Both the agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The agreement between the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers in April was reached after four years of on-and-off talks that set the stage for the creation of a company that would compete more favorably with the top two wireless players, Verizon Communications and AT&T.
Their first round of merger talks had ended unsuccessfully in 2014 after the then Obama administration expressed antitrust concerns.
Carter said on Friday the companies have provided 25 million pages worth of documents to the DoJ, filed 600 pages public information statement with the FCC and held meetings with other U.S. government departments.
The two companies have also defended their deal by saying they need to merge to build the next generation of 5G wireless technology in a robust nationwide network.
“The combined assets of Sprint and T-Mobile can create 8 times the 5G capacity that either of us could do on a standalone basis and 15 times the speed,” Carter said.
Telecom companies are pegging their future success on implementation of 5G networks, which are expected to be at least 100 times faster than current 4G networks and cut latency, allowing for innovations in a number of fields.
Governments have started auctioning 5G spectrum on both sides of the Atlantic.
The FCC on Wednesday launched the agency’s first high-band 5G spectrum auction while Germany is expected to start its 5G auctions in early 2019.
There would be “very, very significant” revenue synergies in the new company resulting from the merger, Carter said at the conference.