Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today announced a settlement with T-Mobile, resolving Oregon’s challenge to the company’s merger with Sprint. The settlement includes terms to protect low income subscribers throughout the state, extend access to underserved communities and protect current T-Mobile and Sprint employees in Oregon. T-Mobile will also reimburse Oregon and other states who had sued for legal costs and fees associated with the litigation and the underlying investigation. Oregon had joined the multistate lawsuit to block the anticompetitive merger in August, 2019. As part of the settlement, Oregon and the other coalition states agree not to appeal the New York court’s recent decision allowing the merger to go forward.
“Our concern with this merger has always been that it would leave consumers—especially those in rural and underserved parts of the state—with higher prices and spotty service,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “I’m glad our multi-state coalition pursued this to the courtroom. In approving the merger, the judge also made it clear that local communities and state enforcers matter. I wish to thank T-Mobile for coming to the table to negotiate with our coalition after the ruling to make sure that Oregon and other state’s consumers are not forgotten in this mega-merger.”
As required by the settlement, the merged company is required to:
- Make low-cost plans available in Oregon for at least 5 years, including a plan offering 2 GB of high-speed data at $15 per month and 5 GB of high speed data at $25 per month;
- Extend for at least an additional two years the rate plans offered by T-Mobile pursuant to its earlier FCC commitment, ensuring Oregonians can retain T-Mobile plans held in February 2019 for a total of five years;
- Offer 100 GB of no-cost broadband internet service per year for five years and a free mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device to 10 million qualifying low-income households not currently connected to broadband nationwide, as well as the option to purchase select Wi-Fi enabled tablets at the company’s cost for each qualifying household. Oregon will determine that qualifications for eligibility;
- Protect jobs by offering all Oregon T-Mobile and Sprint retail employees in good standing an offer of substantially similar employment. T-Mobile also commits that three years after the closing date, the total number of new T-Mobile employees will be equal to or greater than the total number of employees of the unmerged Sprint and T-Mobile companies;
- Increase diversity by increasing the participation rate in its employee Diversity and Inclusion program to 60 percent participation within three years; and
- Reimburse Oregon and other participating states up to $15 million for the costs of the investigation and litigation challenging the merger.
The lawsuit and settlement were handled by the Oregon Department of Justice’s antitrust team, including Assistant Attorneys General Tim Nord and Briand de Haan.
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.