(WTXL) — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody says she's supporting a proposed merger that would bring a 5G network and fortified cell towers to the Florida Panhandle in the coming years.
On Thursday, Moody announced that she is joining the U.S. Department of Justice along with 10 other states in support of the T-Mobile US, Inc. and Sprint Corporation merger. Her support is part of an agreement reached earlier this week to address Florida-specific concerns, including the protection of Florida jobs and improvement of existing infrastructure.
"The Agreement will protect hundreds of Florida jobs, ensures coverage and high-speed connectivity throughout the state, and help improve service for Floridians living in rural parts of the state," officials wrote in a press release.
Under the agreement, T-Mobile agreed to freeze its pricing for a period of years and do "significant" nationwide buildout of a 5G service, including over rural areas of the nation and in Florida.
“Today, we joined with the DOJ and other states in supporting a merger that is a win for all Floridians, especially those who live in our rural regions," said Florida AG Moody. "Among other things, Panhandle areas devastated by Michael will have fortified cell towers to better protect communication during and after storms."
Here's some of the commitments listed that directly impact Florida:
- Network Build Commitment: within three years of the closing date, T-Mobile/Sprint will deploy a 5G network in Florida that reaches at least 76 percent of the state population and 68 percent of the state’s rural population. Within six years, the 5G network will reach at least 94 percent of the state population and 73 percent of the state’s rural population;
- In-Home Broadband Commitment: within three years of the closing date, T-Mobile/Sprint will market its In-Home Broadband Service product to at least 710,000 households in Florida, of which 72,000 will be rural households. Within six years, the product will be marketed in more than two million total households in the state, of which at least 232,000 will be rural households;
- Customer Experience Center Commitment: the company will continue to operate a major customer experience center in the Tampa area that employs at least 800 employees for at least six years following the closing date;
- Retail Stores Commitment: the company will locate at least 20 new retail stores in northern Florida to serve small towns and rural areas. Of these 20 new stores, at least five new stores will be in the Panhandle region in counties affected by Hurricane Michael within one year of the closing date; and
- Disaster Recovery Commitment: T-Mobile/Sprint will expand network hardening in Florida, doubling the number of available back-up generators within the state to at least 70 percent of sites within three years of the closing date.
In April 2018, T-Mobile and Sprint announced the merger.
The DOJ and six other states previously entered into a settlement with T-Mobile and Sprint to address concerns that existed with the move. An additional four states have either joined that action or have announced support of the merger.
To view the full agreement, click here.