A $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint would increase competition and benefit consumers, according to a Department of Justice official.
During testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, assistant attorney general for the antitrust division at the Department of Justice, Makan Delrahim, told lawmakers the agency investigated the transaction for 13 months.
“You’re now going to have Sprint, T-Mobile combined, with the remedies we put in, providing real competition to AT&T and Verizon for the first time to consumers,” Delrahim said. “I think the consumer, particularly in the rural area, is going to win at the end of this, if the merger goes forward.”
The Justice Department gave the deal the green light in July. Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, circulated a draft last month recommending approval of the deal.
When asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, whether the Trump administration had any influence over the Justice Department’s decision — citing hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by T-Mobile executives at the Trump Hotel while seeking approval for the merger — Delrahim said his decisions were not based on the “hotel stays of merging parties.”
“My enforcement decision is not bought by a couple hundred thousand bucks of hotel stays,” Delrahim said.
Illinois recently joined 15 other state attorneys general and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the merger of the wireless carriers. A trial date is set for December.