WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is moving closer to approving T-Mobile’s $26 billion merger with Sprint, but only if the companies sell multiple assets to create a new wireless competitor, according to three people familiar with the plan.
If such an arrangement is approved, it could weaken an effort by attorneys general from nine states and the District of Columbia to halt the blockbuster deal with a suit that they filed this week.
The department is pushing T-Mobile and Sprint to sell a prepaid mobile service and spectrum, the valuable radio waves that carry data to wireless devices, the people said. The companies have approached three internet and television providers — Dish Network, Charter and Altice — about buying Boost Mobile, a prepaid service owned by Sprint, and airwaves owned by Sprint, one of the people said.
A settlement between the companies and federal regulators could be completed in the next week, the three people said.