Florida joins T-Mobile-Sprint merger settlement

Six other states have also settled claims related to the proposed merger.

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Florida is joining a T-Mobile-Sprint merger settlement.

Angela Lang/CNET

Florida has joined a list of other states that have settled claims regarding T-Mobile's $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint, Attorney General Ashley Moody said Wednesday. The settlement calls for a divestiture package to allow a competitor to enter the market and will facilitate the rollout of several 5G networks, according to a Justice Department press release. 

"Florida has been one of the states leading this investigation since the beginning, and I am pleased that they have chosen to join our settlement after completing their thorough review," Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division said in the statement. "The merger, with the divestitures, will strengthen competition for high-quality 5G networks that will benefit Floridians and American consumers nationwide."

The Justice Department's Antitrust Division and seven co-plaintiff states sued to block the transaction. They agreed to settle the suit with the proposed settlement, which needs to be approved by the court. Other states that have settled claims include Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. 

If approved, the settlement states that T-Mobile and Sprint must divest Sprint's prepaid business, which includes Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid, to Dish Network. T-Mobile and Sprint also have to make at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations available to Dish. In addition, T-Mobile must grant Dish access to its network for seven years while Dish builds its own 5G network. 

T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted about the news, saying: "Thank you @AGAshleyMoody for your thoughtful analysis of our proposed transaction w/ Sprint and for seeing it's many many benefits, including 5G and broadband competition, for the people of FL (and the entire country)!"

Sprint CEO Michel Combes also tweeted about the move, saying: "Great news for @Sprint & T-Mobile today. Thank you @AGAshleyMoody for supporting this historic merger that will benefit consumers across #Florida and the U.S."

The Justice Department approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger in July after the deal was OK'd by the Federal Communications Commission in May. Attorneys general from more than a dozen states have challenged the merger, citing concerns about about protecting consumers, workers and competition in the mobile marketplace.   

First published Oct. 2 at 3:58 p.m. PT.
Update, 4:16 p.m PT: Adds tweet from Michel Combes.