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T-Mobile completes merger with Sprint, John Legere steps down as CEO

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From four wireless giants to three

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

T-Mobile officially owns Sprint. The merger was formally completed today after clearing a number of legal hurdles over the last year, including a Department of Justice review and lawsuits from a number of states. The combination turns the United States’ third and fourth largest wireless carriers into a far more substantial third place competitor to Verizon and AT&T.

With the companies combined, John Legere is also stepping down as CEO of T-Mobile. T-Mobile is now being led by Mike Sievert, who was previously the company’s COO. Legere led a dramatic turnaround of T-Mobile after coming on board in 2012, growing it from a distant fourth place carrier into a company capable of buying Sprint and pushing around larger competitors.

Legere will remain on T-Mobile’s board through June 2020. T-Mobile announced last year that he would be stepping aside once the merger wrapped up.

T-Mobile doesn’t mention any immediate plans for the Sprint brand, and Sprint didn’t say whether any immediate changes were planned in response to an email from The Verge. “There is so much to come – today is just the beginning,” a Sprint spokesperson said. “We’re excited to get to work following through on the first of several commitments we promised would be a part of this merger.

To get merger approval, T-Mobile made a number of big promises about how it’ll improve its network and extend service over the coming years. The company promises its 5G network will reach 99 percent of the US population within six years and deliver 50 Mbps speeds to 90 percent of Americans in rural areas. The company also committed to launching an in-home wireless internet service capable of delivering 100 Mbps speeds to 90 percent of the population within six years and giving free internet access to 10 million homes within five years. It also promises to offer “the same or better rate plans” for three years.

To get Justice Department approval, T-Mobile also agreed to sell Sprint’s prepaid businesses — including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile — to Dish. Dish will be allowed to piggyback on T-Mobile’s network for seven years. The government’s hope is that Dish will turn into another nationwide wireless competitor, though as of now, it’s starting largely from the scraps of Sprint.