T-Mobile Completes Merger With Sprint, Promises ‘Transformational’ 5G Network

T-Mobile today announced that it has completed its merger with Sprint, with the merged company to operate under the T-Mobile brand. Effective immediately, T-Mobile's former COO Mike Sievert will assume the role of CEO, with John Legere stepping down.


T-Mobile said it plans to focus on creating a "transformational" nationwide 5G network. Within six years, the carrier promises to provide 5G to 99 percent of the U.S. population and average 5G speeds in excess of 100 Mbps to 90 percent of the U.S. population. T-Mobile also plans to provide 90 percent of rural Americans with average 5G speeds of 50 Mbps.

The "new" T-Mobile has committed to delivering the same or better rate plans for at least three years, including access to 5G. Rate plans are not changing today.

For now, the merged company says all customers will stay with the same Sprint and T-Mobile network, stores, and service they have been using. Over time, Sprint assets will simply begin to be rebranded as T-Mobile.
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T-Mobile Now Lets Customers Use Apple Pay to Pay Bills Online and in App

T-Mobile has added Apple Pay support to its website and the T-Mobile app, allowing customers to pay their monthly cellular bills using Apple's payments service.

Image via Reddit

MacRumors readers and users on Reddit started noticing the change today, which provides ‌Apple Pay‌ as an alternative method to saving a credit card or bank account information.

‌Apple Pay‌ can be set up for auto payments, and when used with Apple Card, the ‌Apple Card‌ provides three percent cash back.

‌Apple Pay‌ is not available when making purchases of devices or accessories from the T-Mobile website, and it appears to be limited to bill payments.
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T-Mobile Offering Unlimited Smartphone Data, Extra Hotspot Data and Free International Calls to Some Areas Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

T-Mobile today announced a few changes that should help out some of its customers who are relying on their T-Mobile data plans during the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.


Most T-Mobile customers already have unlimited data, but for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who still have plans with data limits, T-Mobile will provide unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days.

T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers are also getting access to an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service for the next 60 days, something that T-Mobile says it will offer soon.

Free international calling is available for all T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers to level 3 impacted countries, which includes all European countries.

For schools, T-Mobile is upping the data allowance provided to students through the EmpowerED digital learning programs to ensure that every participant has access to at least 20GB of data per month for the next 60 days.

Customers who use T-Mobile's low-income Lifeline program will receive extra free data up to 5GB per month over the next two months.

T-Mobile is also participating in the FCC's "Keep Americans Connected Pledge," which prevents internet providers from cutting off service to individuals and small business customers unable to pay their bills during the coronavirus outbreak.

To alleviate foot traffic in stores, T-Mobile is offering customers free two-day shipping fees for online purchases for 60 days as a courtesy.
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U.S. Carriers Facing $200M in Fines for Selling Customer Location Data

As expected, the United States Federal Communications Commission today proposed fines against the four major wireless carriers in the United States for improperly sharing and selling real-time customer location information without taking "reasonable measures" to protect against unauthorized access to the data.


In a statement [PDF] released today, the FCC says that T-Mobile should pay the most, while Sprint should pay the least. T-Mobile faces a proposed fine of more than $91 million, while the FCC wants AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to pay over $51 million, $48 million, and $12 million in fines, respectively.

The fines vary based on the length of time that each carrier sold access to its customer location information without safeguards and the number of entities to which each carrier sold access.

Along with the proposed fines, the statement from the FCC admonishes the four carriers for disclosing customer location data without authorization to third-party entities.
"American consumers take their wireless phones with them wherever they go. And information about a wireless customer's location is highly personal and sensitive. The FCC has long had clear rules on the books requiring all phone companies to protect their customers' personal information. And since 2007, these companies have been on notice that they must take reasonable precautions to safeguard this data and that the FCC will take strong enforcement action if they don't. Today, we do just that," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "This FCC will not tolerate phone companies putting Americans' privacy at risk."
All four of the major U.S. carriers sold customer geolocation information to data aggregators like LocationSmart and Zumigo, with those companies then reselling the data to third-party location-based service providers. The data was ultimately provided to law enforcement officials, bounty hunters, bail bondsman, and more.

The FCC says that though exact practices varied, each carrier relied heavily on contract-based assurances that the location-based services providers they worked with would get consent from the customer before accessing the customer's location information, which did not happen.

Carriers had "several commonsense options to impose reasonable safeguards," but ultimately "failed to take the reasonable steps needed to protect customers from unreasonable risk of unauthorized disclosure."

The fines proposed by the FCC today are not final and each carrier will be provided with an opportunity to respond and provide evidence and legal arguments before final fines are imposed.


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FCC to Propose Fining AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile $200M for Sharing Customer Location Data

The United States Federal Communication Commission is expected to propose fining AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint $200 million in total for improperly disclosing real-time customer location data, reports Reuters.


Proposed fines for the four major carriers in the United States could be announced as soon as tomorrow, and the carriers would have the chance to challenge the fines before they become final. The precise amount each company is fined could change, and could possibly increase.

The FCC in January confirmed that several wireless carriers in the U.S. violated federal law by failing to protect sensitive customer data that included real-time location information.

Carrier location selling practices were uncovered last year when Motherboard reported that Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile had been selling subscriber geolocation data to third-party companies like LocationSmart and Zumigo, with those companies passing the data along to bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, and more.

The FCC launched an investigation into the practices after the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce in November 2019 accused the FCC of "failing in its duty to to enforce the laws Congress passed to protect consumers' privacy."


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T-Mobile and Sprint Aiming to Close Merger as Early as April 1

T-Mobile and Sprint are aiming to finish their merger by April 1 now that all legal issues have been resolved and regulatory approval has been granted, the two companies announced today.


In a press release, Sprint and T-Mobile announced an amended business combination agreement that has been approved by the Boards of Directors of T-Mobile and Sprint. Under the terms of the amendment, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom will get a slightly higher ownership stake in the new company.
A separate arrangement entered into by SoftBank Group Corp. in connection with the amendment will result in an effective exchange ratio of approximately 11.00 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share immediately following the closing of the merger, an increase from the originally agreed 9.75 shares. This is a result of SoftBank agreeing to surrender approximately 48.8 million T-Mobile shares acquired in the merger to New T-Mobile immediately following the closing of the transaction, making SoftBank's effective ratio 11.31 Sprint shares per T-Mobile share. Sprint shareholders other than SoftBank will continue to receive the original fixed exchange ratio of 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share, or the equivalent of approximately 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share.

Immediately following the closing, and after the surrender of shares by SoftBank, Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank are expected to hold approximately 43% and 24%, respectively, of the fully diluted New T-Mobile shares, with the remaining approximately 33% held by public shareholders.
Mike Sievert, T-Mobile COO and President (who will be CEO of the new company as of May), said that with the new agreement in place, the focus is on closing the transaction and creating the new T-Mobile company "as early as April 1, 2020."
"We are on the verge of being able to do what we've set out to do from day one - reshape a broken wireless industry and create the new standard for consumers when it comes to value, speed, quality and service. The New T-Mobile is literally going to change wireless for good and now we're almost ready to get to the fun part: bringing our teams together, building this supercharged Un-carrier and becoming the envy of the wireless industry and beyond!"
The merger between Sprint and T-Mobile was able to proceed after a judge in early February ruled that the deal could go on despite an antitrust lawsuit filed by attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia.

The states argued that combining T-Mobile and Sprint was not in the public's interest as it would reduce competition and lead to higher smartphone bills, but T-Mobile's pro-consumer efforts that spurred changes in the smartphone industry weighed in the merger's favor.

The combined company will be known as "New T-Mobile" and it will be the third largest carrier in the United States after Verizon and AT&T.

T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to building a nationwide 5G network covering 97 percent of the U.S. population in three years and 99 percent within six years. T-Mobile has promised not to raise prices for three years following the merger's completion, and plans to offer the same or better rate plans even when 5G connectivity is available.

To gain regulatory approval from the FCC, T-Mobile and Sprint were required to sell some of their assets to Dish, as the FCC wants to see Dish become the fourth nationwide facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States.


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T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Approved, May Be Finalized as Early as April

As expected, U.S. federal judge Victor Marrero today approved T-Mobile's proposed $26 billion acquisition of Sprint, which would create a dominant third-largest carrier alongside AT&T and Verizon in the United States.


The FCC formally approved the merger in November 2019, but a group of state attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit aiming to block it. The states argued that combining the two companies was not in the public's interest, claiming that it would reduce competition and lead to higher smartphone bills.

In his decision, however, Marrero concluded that "T-Mobile has redefined itself over the past decade as a maverick that has spurred the two largest players in its industry to make numerous pro-consumer changes," referring to AT&T and Verizon, and expressed optimism that the merged company would be able to continue this successful business strategy for the foreseeable future.

Following the decision, T-Mobile has announced that it is now working with Sprint on the final steps to complete their merger to create the "New T-Mobile," noting that the deal could close as early as April 2020.

T-Mobile added that it is committed to delivering the same or better rate plans at the same or better prices for at least three years, including 5G.


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T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Expected to Receive Final Approval Tomorrow

A judge overseeing a lawsuit aiming to stop the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint is planning to rule in favor of allowing the deal to go forward, reports The New York Times.

The FCC formally approved the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint in November 2019, but attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia filed an antitrust lawsuit aiming to block it. The states argued that combining the two companies was not in the public's interest as it would reduce competition and lead to higher smartphone bills.


Final arguments in the antitrust suit took place last month, and sources that spoke to The New York Times said that none of the parties involved have read the judge's ruling yet, so there could be conditions or restrictions attached.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile are planning to make announcements related to the merger on Tuesday, as the lawsuit was the final roadblock preventing it from moving forward. If the judge does indeed rule in favor of Sprint and T-Mobile, the newly combined company will be known as T-Mobile and it will have 100 million customers.

The two companies have committed to building a nationwide 5G network covering 97 percent of the U.S. population in three years and 99 percent within six years. They have also promised not to raise their prices for three years following the merger's completion.

Under the terms of the deal, both T-Mobile and Sprint were required to sell some of their assets to Dish, as the FCC wants to see Dish become the fourth nationwide facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States.


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FCC: Wireless Carriers Violated Federal Law by Sharing Consumer Location Data

One or more wireless carriers violated federal law by failing to protect sensitive customer information like real-time data location, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai confirmed today in letters sent to Congress as part of a wireless location investigation [PDF].

As noted by Bloomberg, Pai's letter comes after the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce in November accused the FCC of "failing in its duty to to enforce the laws Congress passed to protect consumers' privacy."


The accusation was referring to major wireless carriers disclosing real-time consumer location information to third-party data services, with data services then selling that sensitive info to a variety of companies without customer consent.

The location selling practices surfaced last year after Motherboard reported that Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile were selling subscriber geolocation data to third-party companies like LocationSmart and Zumigo, with those companies then passing it along to bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, and more.

The FCC's letter confirms that one or more wireless carriers violated the law by sharing location data with third-party services, though it does not specify which carriers have done so. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all been questioned about their data selling practices in the past.

Pai says that he's committed to ensuring that carriers comply with the Communications Act and the FCC's rules, and the carriers that have been found in violation of the law could be facing fines.


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T-Mobile Launches 600MHz 5G Network Across United States

T-Mobile today announced that its 600MHz 5G network has gone live across the United States, bringing 5G connectivity to those who have a compatible smartphone.

According to T-Mobile, its 5G network covers more than 200 million people and more than 1 million square miles, though connectivity is limited to the OnePlus 7T 5G McLaren and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, both of which are launching on the T-Mobile network this Friday.


There are currently no iPhones that are compatible with T-Mobile's 5G network, with Apple planning to release its first iPhones that support 5G connectivity in 2020.

T-Mobile's 5G network is a 600MHz network, which gives it greater range than the mmWave 5G networks other carriers like AT&T and Verizon are focusing on, but less speed. T-Mobile's 5G is faster than 4G, but it won't reach some of the blazing fast speeds that are possible with mmWave technology.

When 5G is mentioned, most people are talking about millimeter wave spectrum, which offers blazing fast data transfer speeds, but it is sensitive to interference from buildings, trees, and other obstacles and it is best suited to use in dense, urban locations.


5G in rural and suburban areas will be on mid and low-bands, which is also known as sub-6GHz 5G, simply because of the restrictions of the mmWave technology. From T-Mobile CEO John Legere:
"5G is here on a nationwide scale. This is a HUGE step towards 5G for All. While Dumb and Dumber focus on 5G for the (wealthy) Few, launching in just a handful of cities -- and forcing customers into their most expensive plans to get 5G -- we're committed to building broad, deep nationwide 5G that people and businesses can access at no extra cost with the New T-Mobile ... and today is just the start of that journey."
T-Mobile says that its 5G network goes "far beyond the limitations" of 5G networks from other carriers, bringing 5G to more people in more places, with coverage available in a map on the T-Mobile website. According to T-Mobile, after its merger with Sprint is completed, the new larger company will be able to further expand its 5G network.


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