47°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada drops opposition to T-Mobile-Sprint merger

CARSON CITY — The planned mega­merger between T-Mobile and Sprint got a little easier Monday as the Nevada attorney general’s office announced that the state will drop its legal challenge to the deal.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford had initially joined a coalition of state attorneys general in June in a lawsuit seeking to block the merger over concerns that the deal would decrease competition in Nevada and lead to higher-priced wireless plans and a decrease in coverage and quality for subscribers.

As part of a settlement agreement announced Monday, Nevada will withdraw from the lawsuit in exchange for a series of commitments by the two companies. Those conditions ensure eventual 5G coverage for more than 90 percent of the state’s population, low-priced plans, protections for current T-Mobile and Sprint employees and millions in charitable contributions toward expanded broadband access for Native American tribes and women- and minority-owned small businesses.

“With this settlement, T-Mobile and Sprint have demonstrated their commitment to preserve Nevada jobs, deploy a high speed 5G network across the state covering 83 percent of our rural communities, and offer low-price plans,” Ford said in a statement.“Beyond these benefits, the New T-Mobile will make a significant investment to enhance service to our Native American tribal communities, contribute to programs that enhance opportunities for minorities, women and small businesses. Because of these commitments, I can now support a merger that will preserve Nevada jobs and benefit consumers throughout our state.”

Marcelo Claure, executive chairman of Sprint, thanked Ford in a tweet Monday, and said that “We’re getting closer to making the new T-Mobile a reality.”

The attorney general of Texas also announced Monday that the Lone Star State will withdraw from the lawsuit after a similar settlement. The merger is still facing opposition from 14 other attorneys general, including those of New York, California and the District of Columbia.

The commitments to Nevada from T-Mobile/Sprint include:

■ 5G coverage for 64 percent of Nevada’s population within three years of the close of the merger. And within six years, the network will be required to cover 94 percent of the state’s population, including 83 percent of rural Nevada residents.

■ For six years, T-Mobile will offer Nevadans plan options of unlimited talk and text and at least 2 gigabytes of data for $15 month, and a 5-gigabyte plan for $25 per month. The data in both plans will also increase incrementally to “nearly double” the initial amount.

■ Access to T-Mobile’s nationwide broadband internet, which will provide “free connectivity and equipment to households with school-age children.”

— All current T-Mobile and Sprint retail employees will receive an offer of employment from the new T-Mobile with comparable wages. The company will also maintain the Sprint call center in Las Vegas that employees 450 people for at least six years.

— T-Mobile will make a total of $30 million in charitable contributions that will go towards funding broadband improvements for Native American tribes and supporting small businesses owned by women and minorities, according to the attorney general’s office.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
RJ Politics Podcast with Deval Patrick - VIDEO
2020 Presidential Candidate Deval Patrick joins hosts Rory Appleton and Steve Sebelius on the RJ Politics Podcast.
Tom Steyer on Donald Trump and the economy - Video
Tom Steyer joins the RJ Politics podcast to talk about his campaign presence in Nevada and how he plans to take Trump on when talking about the economy. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas City Council Votes On Homeless Ordinance - Video
The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday will discuss expanding on a controversial camping and sleeping ban aimed at deterring the homeless from bivouacking on city streets to include hours when public sidewalks are being cleaned.
Biden meets with Vegas Latino community - VIDEO
Presidential candidate Joe Biden met with members of the Latino community at Rancho High School. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson, other Nevada cities consent to refugee resettlement - VIDEO
Henderson will continue to welcome refugees for resettlement, according to a December letter from Mayor Debra March. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg Speaks At Black Empowerment Event - Video
Pete Buttigieg speaks at a black empowerment event to talk about his Douglass plan.
Joe Biden at the national hospitality workers union.
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to members of the national hospitality workers union during UNITE HERE's town hall on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 at Culinary Union Hall in Las Vegas. @bizutesfaye
Elizabeth Warren at Culinary Union
Elizabeth Warren speaks at a Culinary Union town hall in Las Vegas on Dec. 9, 2019.
Secretary of Education visits Henderson school
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited students at Pinecrest Academy in Henderson to talk about college planning on Dec. 4, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump dropped from Terry Fator’s show on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Fator has edited out one prominent figure: President Donald Trump, a focal point of Fator’s regular stage show and also Christmas show over the past 3½ years. The Trump puppet, with his pop-up hairpiece, has been sidelined from both shows until further notice. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Accused murder mastermind Frank LaPena is granted a pardon - VIDEO
A onetime Las Vegas casino bell captain who spent 25 years in prison as the accused mastermind in a notorious 1974 contract murder won his last legal battle for freedom Wednesday when the state Pardons Board granted him a conditional pardon restoring all his civil rights. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Middle: Nonpartisan voters and the 2020 election
How will the growing segment of nonpartisan or independent voters — those who have not registered with either political party, or who have left partisan politics behind — vote in 2020?
THE LATEST
Teachers union files initiative to raise Nevada’s gaming tax

An initiative to raise the top tier of the Nevada gaming tax, sponsored by the Clark County Education Association, would raise an estimated $315 million per year.