LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced joining the multistate settlement that approves the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. Arkansas joins the U.S. Department of Justice and eight other states in the settlement that will make Dish Network Corp. the fourth nationwide provider of retail mobile wireless services. In addition to protecting competition, the proposed settlement will expedite the availability of high-quality 5G networks for Arkansas consumers.
“Arkansans deserve to have a level playing field when paying for affordable and reliable access to internet and cell phone services,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This agreement will help connect customers in rural parts of our State to 5G networks which will boost education and economic opportunities while safeguarding the industry from anticompetitive practices.”
The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division along with nine states sued to block the transaction between T-Mobile and Sprint earlier this year and have agreed to settle the lawsuit based on the proposed settlement. If approved by the court, the settlement would resolve the Justice Department’s and the co-plaintiff states’ competitive concerns.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, T-Mobile and Sprint must divest Sprint’s prepaid business, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid, to Dish. The proposed settlement also provides for the divestiture of certain spectrum assets to Dish. Additionally, T-Mobile and Sprint must make available to Dish at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations. T-Mobile must also provide Dish with robust access to the T-Mobile network for a period of seven years while Dish builds out its own 5G network.
Arkansas joins Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota in this proposed settlement.