T-Mobile progress: CEO

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the company is moving ahead with its 5G plans and that its pending merger with Sprint could create a dominant wireless carrier offering more options to consumers. Kingsburg is expecting the firm to bring 1,000 new jobs to Fresno County as a new T-Mobile Customer Experience Center would be built in the area.

KINGSBURG – Local officials said they’re excited to hear progress has been made in the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. They’re excited but not revealing an exact location of the new T-Mobile Customer Experience Center the company says they’ll locate to the area just yet.

An announcement was made July 26 by Senior Communications Manager Joel Rushing that T-Mobile and Sprint had received clearance from the Department of Justice for their proposed merger to create the New T-Mobile.

“They have taken an important step toward completing their proposed merger to create the New T-Mobile by entering into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ action moves the merger one step closer to closing, pending other regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other closing conditions.”

In light of that announcement, Kingsburg Mayor Michelle Roman said she’s looking forward to new employment opportunities that will benefit the entire Fresno County.

“We are excited that we cleared this first hurdle through the DOJ. I’m excited what the T-Mobile Customer Experience Center will bring to our City. These 1,000 jobs will provide a wonderful opportunity for our local businesses and the City of Kingsburg.”

City Manager Alexander Henderson was also glad to hear this hurdle had been cleared.

“We’re excited to hear of the next regulatory approval. We understand there are still some issues to be settled, namely the lawsuit filed by the [attorney generals]. We’re hopefully that [California’s] AG Xavier Becerra, who has ties to the Central Valley, understands the enormity of the project as it relates to California and the Valley.”

Henderson said more than 1,000 jobs and $105 million in planned investment would otherwise be lost if the merger doesn’t happen.

“T-Mobile has made nearly 50 verifiable, enforceable and specific commitments for California as part of the [California Public Utilities Commission]’s review of the merger, including commitments relating to 5G deployment and network buildout, pricing, jobs, network resiliency and emergency preparedness, digital literacy, diversity and inclusion, and support for LifeLine customers,” Henderson said.

It was first reported in April that the company would locate a Central Valley Customer Experience Center in the Kingsburg area. They plan to employ 1,000 but the exact location of the new center has not yet been announced.

New T-Mobile President Mike Sievert said they chose Kingsburg since it’s “already home to a tremendous amount of innovation, diverse talent and great energy, which makes it a perfect fit for the New T-Mobile.”

In the meantime, Henderson said the City of Kingsburg is keeping in communication with T-Mobile representatives and “are assisting in any way we can to help get the project across the finish line.”

Several states’ attorney generals, led by New York AG Letitia James and California AG Xavier Becerra, have raised concerns the merger still isn’t in consumers’ best interests. Some states - Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota - have decided to settle instead of pursuing litigation.

California’s Becerra was quoted in “The Verge’s” online article on the merger as saying fewer active competitors in the marketplace “drives up costs, reduces consumer choice and thwarts innovation. We intend to be prepared to go to trial to fight for a fair, competitive, and equitable marketplace for consumers nationwide.”

Meanwhile, the companies also announced they had reached agreements with DISH to divest all Sprint’s pre-paid businesses, including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, and Sprint’s 800 MHz spectrum licenses for aggregate proceeds of $5 billion.

Upon the closing of the divestiture transaction, the companies will provide DISH wireless customers access to the New T-Mobile network for seven years and offer standard transition services arrangements to DISH during a transition period of up to three years. DISH will also have an option to take on leases for certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by the New T-Mobile, subject to any assignment restrictions. The transactions with DISH are contingent on the successful closing of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint among other closing conditions.

“The T-Mobile and Sprint merger we announced last April will create a bigger and bolder competitor than ever before,” and New T-Mobile CEO John Legere said. “It’s one that will deliver the most transformative 5G network in the country, lower prices, better quality, unmatched value and thousands of jobs, while unlocking an unprecedented $43 billon net present value in synergies. We are pleased that our previously announced target synergies, profitability and long-term cash generation have not changed.”

Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint-branded prepaid customers, as well as new DISH wireless customers, will have full access to the legacy Sprint network and the New T-Mobile network in a phased approach. Access to the New T-Mobile network will be through a mobile virtual network operator arrangement, as well as through an Infrastructure MNO arrangement enabling roaming in certain areas until DISH’s 5G network is built out.

The New T-Mobile will offer standard transition services arrangements to DISH for up to three years following the close of the divestiture transaction.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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