T-Mobile and Sprint still haven't sealed the deal on a possible merger, though not for a lack of trying — approval from government regulators is the last major hurdle. T-Mobile has already promised not to raise prices for a few years if the deal is approved, but the U.S. Justice Department reportedly still isn't on board. Supposedly, the Justice Department wants the combined T-Mobile/Sprint to create a new fourth carrier, with its own dedicated network.
According to Bloomberg, top Justice Department officials want T-Mobile and Sprint to create a full-fledged national carrier to get approval for the merger. The new carrier wouldn't be an MVNO that rents T-Mobile's network, either; it would be its own independent network with its own infrastructure. In other words, a new competitor would be created to fill Sprint's current role.
The new carrier would solve the Justice Department's main complaint with the merger — that it would reduce the number of major carriers in the U.S to just three —but T-Mobile and Sprint might not accept it. After all, the new competitor could hurt the merged carrier's future profits.