The Sprint T-Mobile merger got a shot in the arm with Mississippi state breaking ranks with 16 other U.S. states from the legal suit that challenged the proposed $26.5 billion acquisition of Sprint by T-Mobile US. 

On Wednesday, Mississippi agreed on a deal with the merging companies and announced that it is withdrawing from the litigation process.

In a statement, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said his state would retreat from the legal challenge on the wireless carriers and explained the benefits of the T-Mobile merger deal for his state. 

“The world around us is almost fully digital, but Mississippi was lagging with internet deserts across the state,” Hood said. 

“My agreement with T-Mobile will help fill this gap,” the AG added.

Under the sprint merger T-Mobile deal, Hood said the merged company would deploy a 5G network in Mississippi in three years and cover 62 percent of the general and rural population in the state expanding access to high-speed service.

T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said his company was “thrilled” that Hood “withdrew from the lawsuit” after being convinced about New T-Mobile plans and T-Mobile customer service support for the state’s consumers. 

The AG also noted that the companies have agreed that for at least five years it will offer unlimited talk, text and 2GB data plan for $15 per month and roll out a $25 per month plan for 5GB of data.

The T-Mobile Sprint merger has a nod from regulators including the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and FCC. But it is held up after 16 states led by New York filed lawsuits against the companies and their parent companies Deutsche Telekom and Softbank Group alleging the merger deal is detrimental to U.S. consumers. 

The trial of the case will start on Dec. 9. 

FCC approves the deal but announcement held up

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave its nod to the deal last week with a majority of the five-member body agreeing to the acquisition.

However, the order is not yet made public. It is not known whether it has something to do with a petition by nine organizations that sought the intervention of FCC and wanted the permission for the T-Mobile Sprint merger delayed until a fraud investigation on Sprint is completed.

The Sprint probe allegedly relates to a Lifeline scandal in which the company has been accused of collecting subsidies from the FCC via false claims.  t-mobile-sprint-merger Pictured is a T-Mobile and Sprint store side-by-side. Photo: Getty Images

“Specifically, the public interest, rural wireless, and labor organizations ask the Commission to pause its review of the merger while important issues related to Sprint’s apparent Lifeline fraud are fully investigated by the Commission,” the petition stated.

Among those signed the petition included the Rural Wireless Association, Consumer Reports, Communications Workers America, The Rural Broadband Association and Greenlining Institute.

Meanwhile, the merger agreement between the T-Mobile and Sprint will expire on November 1 unless they agree to extend the date.  LightShed analysts Walter Piecyk and Joe Galone urged T-Mobile to renegotiate the agreement and get a better deal from Sprint. 

In the stock market, T-Mobile stock jumped 0.23 percent in the last trading session of Wednesday while Verizon’s VZ stock was down 0.8 percent.