Washington (CNN Business)T-Mobile’s mega-merger with Sprint can move forward, the Justice Department said Friday, paving the way for an unprecedented combination of America’s third- and fourth-largest wireless providers. The DOJ’s blessing marks a critical breakthrough for T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) as they seek to join forces against Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), which owns CNN. The smaller carriers argue they must merge in order to compete more effectively, especially as the industry moves toward next-generation 5G technology. But critics argue the tie-up will lead to higher prices and less innovation, and the merger may not close until a multi-state lawsuit to block the deal is resolved. The DOJ’s settlement was joined by five states that are not part of the lawsuit. For weeks, Sprint and T-Mobile have been negotiating an agreement with the DOJ to address concerns that the merger may harm competition. The resulting settlement Friday requires the combined company to spin off customers and assets to create a fresh replacement for Sprint in the cutthroat wireless business. Picking up the pieces will be satellite provider Dish Network. Under the deal with DOJ, Dish will pay $1.4 billion to take over Sprint’s prepaid wireless business, including Boost Mobile… Read full this story
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