Colorado Backs Out Of Lawsuit To Stop T-Mobile-Sprint Merger After Making Deal For Jobs, 5G Service

Mark Lennihan/AP Photo
A woman using a cell phone walks past T-Mobile and Sprint stores in New York.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is dropping out of the multistate lawsuit to block the T-Mobile and Sprint merger because of a deal secured with Dish Network.

As part of the deal announced Monday, Dish will put its new wireless headquarters in Littleton — with at least 2,000 full-time jobs — and make Colorado one of the first 10 states with 5G broadband service, including a wider network in rural areas.

The U.S. Justice Department recently approved the $26.5 billion merger, in which Dish agreed to acquire the companies’ prepaid businesses and get access to T-Mobile’s network for $5 billion, making it the fourth largest nationwide wireless carrier.

“The state of Colorado joined a multistate lawsuit to block the T-Mobile-Sprint merger because of concerns about how the merger would affect Coloradans,” Chief Deputy Attorney General Natalie Hanlon Leh said in a statement Monday. “Our announcement today ensures Coloradans will benefit from Dish’s success as a nationwide wireless competitor.”

Dish and the New T-Mobile have agreed to pay up to a total of $100 million if they fail to meet the commitments made to Colorado. 

In a statement, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said the deal would change the wireless market.

“This will strengthen competition for millions of current and future customers across America while bringing to life the nation’s first virtualized standalone 5G broadband network,” Egren said.

Dish worked with the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Department of Justice and the Colorado Attorney General’s office to strike the deal, Egren said.

“We appreciate that the Colorado AG’s office conducted a comprehensive review of the transaction and concluded that it will be joining the DOJ consent decree,” he said in the statement. 

Sen. Cory Gardner praised the attorney general’s decision to drop out of the lawsuit.

“I’m glad the Colorado Attorney General’s office has decided to join me in supporting this merger,” Gardner said in a statement. “I’ve been championing support for this merger at the federal level because Colorado would be home to the nation’s fourth major wireless carrier — bringing thousands more jobs to our state.”

The lawsuit is ongoing as 15 other states and Washington, D.C. try to block the merger. A trial date is set for Dec. 9.