Back in November 2019, T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced that the new, merged behemoth would roll out a free, low-income internet plan to help poor American children close the “homework gap.”
Well, a U.S. District Judge just approved the deal, so it will soon be time for Legere, T-Mobile and Sprint to put up or shut up.
Here’s how CNET.com describes the latest news:
The end is in sight for T-Mobile and Sprint after nearly two years of waiting to close their $26.5 billion merger. On Tuesday, US District Judge Victor Marrero gave the green light to the deal, rejecting claims that combining the third- and fourth largest national wireless carriers would be anticompetitive.
Fourteen state attorneys general, led by those of New York and California, opposed the transaction and sued in federal court earlier this year to stop the deal. Their argument was simple: Combining the companies would dramatically reduce competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.
But the judge didn’t buy this argument, saying that the merger was unlikely to “substantially lessen competition.” He said it was “misleading” to presume the deal would be anticompetitive given the rapid changes in the industry.
According to T-Mobile’s “Project 10 Million,” ten million low-income households will receive free access to the internet over the next five years. On top of that, the company says it will spend another $700 million to put hardware, hot spots, and reduced-cost devices in those same households.
Eligible families, the company says, will receive “up to 100GB of free internet access each year, one free Wi-Fi enabled hot spot, and the option to purchase select Wi-Fi enabled devices at the company’s cost.” 100GB won’t be enough to handle gaming and watching movies, but it’s certainly plenty to accomplish the company’s goal — to help kids get ahead in school.
T-Mobile is saying all the right things. The company intends to work with local community organizations to build an enrollment..
“You show us where they are, and we’ll jointly figure out a way to get this in their hands,” said CEO Legere.
That being said, some of the details are still a bit hazy. T-Mobile president and COO Mike Sievert said, “We’re gonna allocate them based on some simple principles. They’re for families with children that are school-aged, families that don’t meet a certain income threshold, and who are under connected.” In other words, a little something for everyone.
Now that the merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint has officially been approved, we’ll be keeping tabs on the situation to see how this program develops. Check back here again for details because we’ll keep you posted. Let’s see if T-Mobile’s actions live up to its promises.