NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Tuesday approved a merger between No.3 and No.4 wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp, rejecting a claim by a group of states that said the deal would violate antitrust laws and raise prices.
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During a two-week trial in December, T-Mobile and Sprint argued the merger will better equip the new company to compete with top players Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc, creating a more efficient company with low prices and faster internet speeds.
The states, led by California and New York, had said the deal would reduce competition, leading to higher prices.
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The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero clears the path for the deal, which already has federal approval and was originally valued at $26 billion.
The U.S. Justice Department approved the deal in July after the carriers agreed to sell some prepaid assets to satellite provider Dish Network Corp, which would create its own cellular network to ensure that there would still be four competitors in the market. The Federal Communications Commission signed off on the deal in October.
The states maintained that Dish was ill-equipped to become a competitive fourth wireless carrier, noting that it lacks experience, scale and brand recognition in wireless.
Uniting T-Mobile's low-band spectrum and Sprint's mid-band spectrum could allow a fast rollout of a national 5G network.
Japan's Softbank Group Corp is Sprint's controlling shareholder.
(Reporting by Arriana McLymore; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Lisa Shumaker and Nick Zieminski)