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California won’t appeal T-Mobile-Sprint case, allowing merger to proceed

The California attorney general’s office announced Wednesday that it would not appeal a federal court decision approving the $26 billion T-Mobile and Sprint merger. In a settlement with California, the companies made a handful of promises like creating new low-cost mobile plans and jobs in the state.

According to the terms of the settlement, the New T-Mobile, as the combined company is called, is now required to make low-cost mobile plans available in California for the next five years, including a $15-per-month 2GB plan and a $25-per-month 5GB plan. It must offer 100GB of no-cost high-speed internet service and a free mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device to 10 million low-income households that are currently going without access for five years. The settlement also requires the New T-Mobile to create around 1,000 new jobs in the state and maintain the ones that already exist there.

“Our coalition vigorously challenged the T-Mobile/Sprint telecom merger over concerns that it would thwart competition and leave consumers with higher prices,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. “Most importantly, today’s settlement locks in new jobs and protections for vulnerable consumers, and it extends access to telecom services for our most underserved and rural communities.”

Last year, around a dozen state attorneys general sued to block the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. As the January court dates approached, states like Colorado dropped their suits, opting to settle out of court for perks like increased connectivity and promises of jobs from the companies.

In February, Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero rejected the states’ argument that a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint would decrease competition in the mobile market and cause consumer plan prices to rise over time. That suit was led by the California and New York attorneys general. Shortly after Marrero’s decision was announced, NY Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office would not appeal the case.

“After a thorough analysis, New York has decided not to move forward with an appeal in this case. Instead, we hope to work with all the parties to ensure that consumers get the best pricing and service possible, that networks are built out throughout our state, and that good-paying jobs are created here in New York,” James said in a statement last month.