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T-Mobile and Sprint say they need to merge so America can beat other countries to 5G

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The same arguments we’ve been hearing

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

T-Mobile and Sprint filed public interest statements to the Federal Communications Commission today. The 700-page filing is part of the companies’ bid to merge, which they say will help them deploy a nationwide 5G network through a $40 billion investment.

Highly anticipated, 5G is the next generation of wireless technology that many tech companies are already working on. This version of 5G that both companies are discussing will be built on top of existing LTE networks, and it won’t be a standalone 5G network, which is still yet to come. Without the merger, both companies agree that they’ll eventually deliver 5G internet, but that the speed of development will be much slower.

The merger would combine T-Mobile’s 5G plan to use the 600MHz band of spectrum and Sprint’s plan to use the 2.5GHz band to build a 5G network that the companies claim is both broad and thorough. T-Mobile states in a blog post: “We believe that no one else — not Verizon, not AT&T, not Dish, not Comcast, not Charter — will have the breadth AND depth we can bring together with Sprint.”

T-Mobile argues that the US needs to beat other countries to the punch when it comes to deploying a 5G network, echoing the nationalistic sentiments that the Trump administration has shared before. The carrier says, “If we don’t take decisive, positive action, we risk ceding global leadership in both 5G AND the entire next wave of technology to a country other than America. We cannot relinquish our leadership here.”

Authorities still need to weigh in on the merger, which if approved, will be finalized in the first half of next year.