Telecom giants T-Mobile US and Sprint enter merger agreement

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Their previous two attempts failed because of opposition from regulators in the Obama administration in 2014 and disagreements a year ago over control of the combined company.

The two companies are taking a gamble on this deal, hoping to team up and develop next-gen wireless networks and also beat the competition and market leaders, Verizon and AT&T.

The $26.5 billion deal would give the newly-formed corporation a combined 125 million customers and, according to T-Mobile and Sprint, would enable the entities to create a high-capacity 5G wireless network that could compete with at-home broadband connections provided by cable companies.

"We envision, at best, a 50 percent chance of regulatory approval given recent industry challenges ... as it will be hard to prove fewer carriers will be good for consumers", said CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino, who pointed to Sprint as the more vulnerable of the two companies on a standalone basis.

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As part of the shuffle, Claure will become Sprint's executive chairman as well as COO of Sprint parent SoftBank Group Corp. and CEO of SoftBank Group International. Claure will serve on the board. The two companies will now have to convince the Trump administration not to block their merger, which it is currently trying to do in another case being argued in court: AT&T's $85 billion dollar planned acquisition of Time Warner. If T-Mobile and Sprint merge, prices will spike and the digital divide will widen. Prior to Sprint, Mr. Claure started his first business - a small retailer of wireless phones - in 1994 and, in 1997, founded Brightstar, which he transformed from a small, Miami-based wireless distributor into the world's largest global wireless distribution and services company with revenues exceeding $10 billion and a presence in more than 50 countries. Wheeler told CNBC on Monday the announced deal is nothing new.

The data from the FCC could offer "a very granular picture of the level of competition", Allen Grunes, an antitrust attorney formerly at the Justice Department, said in an interview. And we expect they'll invest an extra $20 billion. Additionally, he said, "in fiscal fourth quarter alone, we deployed more outdoor small cells than the previous two years combined".

The reference to "dumb and dumber" is Legere's disparaging nicknames for rivals Verizon and AT&T, respectively.

"Though I'm shifting my focus, I'm not leaving", Claure said of his current role as Sprint's CEO, a position he gained in 2014. "The network will harness 4G and 5G bandwidths simultaneously ... and will be ready for the introduction of the first 5G smartphones in the first half of 2019".

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Of course Sprint and T-Mobile executives have spent all week claiming the exact opposite, and numerous companies' devoted fanboys seem abundantly eager to believe them, much to the detriment of the rest of our wallets.

"We think [the deal] is good for America, we think it's good for consumers", he added.

Legere also stressed the need for USA technological leadership, saying on CNBC that the United States lags China in developing 5G and "this is not something we can allow". On Monday, the two said their feud is behind them and they would have Thanksgiving dinner together this year.

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