March 11, 2020 Lansing, MI (AMN) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced a multistate settlement with T-Mobile, resolving the coalition’s challenge to the company’s merger with Sprint. The settlement includes terms to protect low-income subscribers, extend access to underserved communities, protect current T-Mobile and Sprint employees, and reimburse the states for their legal expenses in challenging the merger.
This settlement ends the legal challenge brought by a coalition of attorneys general across the country, which alleged that the merger was unlawful and would lead to reduced competition and increased prices for consumers.
“The terms of this settlement are reasonable and achieved some of the goals my office was fighting for – principally, assurances that this merger will not adversely impact vulnerable consumers,” Nessel said. “This settlement not only provides financial safeguards for low-income households and customers, but requires T-Mobile to retain employees in good standing, increase the diversity of its workforce and reimburse Michigan taxpayers for legal expenses resulting from this lawsuit.”
Key terms of the settlement include:
- Low-cost plans – For at least five years, T-Mobile will make certain low-cost plans are available in the plaintiff states.
- Pricing commitment – T-Mobile will extend for at least an additional two years certain rate plans per the terms of its commitment to the FCC.
- Free mobile broadband for low-income households with school-age children – For five years, T-Mobile will make available its “Project 10Million” program to qualifying low-income unconnected households in the plaintiff states.
- Jobs – All T-Mobile and Sprint retail employees in the plaintiff states in good standing as of the closing date will receive an offer of substantially similar employment under the new company. For those non-executive T-Mobile and Sprint employees who join satellite TV operator DISH within one year of closing, T-Mobile will waive any applicable non-compete agreements.
- Diversity – T-Mobile will strive to increase the participation rate in its employee Diversity & Inclusion Program to 60 percent within three years of the transaction closing.
- Fees and costs – T-Mobile will reimburse each plaintiff state for reasonable fees and costs of investigation and litigation, up to each state’s proportionate share of $15 million.
- Appeal – The attorneys general of the plaintiff states will not appeal the lower court decision.
In an effort to block the merger, Nessel and a coalition of attorneys general filed a complaint in June 2019 with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In July 2019, the coalition expressed concern about the U.S. Department of Justice’s approval of the megamerger.
In February 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero entered a judgment in favor of the companies.
Original plaintiffs in the case included Michigan, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Click here for a copy of the settlement agreement that applies to Michigan.