The linchpin of the deal is Dish Network. As part of a settlement with the Justice Department, the satellite TV provider would be positioned as the fourth nationwide wireless carrier.
The deal preserves the government's goal of having four competitors, though it's unclear how wide-ranging the Dish service will be. But the companies face a lawsuit from several state attorneys general who are trying to block the deal. The states argue that the merger should be stopped because it'll harm competition and increase prices.
T-Mobile said it wouldn't proceed with closing the deal until it settled the concerns of the state attorneys general. The T-Mobile merger, announced more than a year ago, could bring about a seismic shift in the mobile world.
Dish's emergence as a new wireless player would consumers another potential alternative for service -- it vows to cover 70 percent of the US with 5G by T-Mobile and Sprint's combined assets could jump-start its 5G ambitions, pushing the industry further into the next-generation technology. They've also said they'll lock in prices for at least three years. The agreement comes at a time when the US carriers are bending over backward to win your business, with offers like unlimited data and freebies, such as access to Netflix.
Sprint offers Hulu , Tidal and Amazon Prime with its priciest unlimited plan. Those competitive pressures have driven T-Mobile and Sprint together. And though executives from both companies promise lower prices and better service, consumer groups and analysts are skeptical.
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Worried about how this might affect you? CNET breaks down everything you need to know about this mega mobile merger. T-Mobile and Sprint have long courted each other. A merger would create a stronger competitor. Actually, T-Mobile and Sprint tried twice before. In , Sprint parent SoftBank floated the idea of a deal with T-Mobile, but regulators and the White House were keen on keeping four national competitors.
The current administration and the FCC are more open to deals, which is why both sides got close to a deal in The deal fell apart in late when SoftBank and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom couldn't agree on how much control each side would get. Since the deal was announced more than a year ago, analyst opinions on whether the merger would get regulatory approval hovered around But the states' lawsuit could throw a big monkey wrench into whether the deal actually gets consummated.
Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, filed or joined a multistate lawsuit earlier this year, claiming the merger would "deprive consumers of the benefits of competition and drive up prices for cellphone services. What's more, a court also has to sign off on the settlement the Department of Justice worked out with T-Mobile and Sprint.
Then there's also the millions upon millions of songs that aren't in YouTube Music's official library, nor any official streaming library, in many cases. Some of this fan-uploaded content is illegal. When copyright holders serve DMCA requests, YouTube pulls that content, but that's a constant game of whack-a-mole that most labels don't have the time or resources to play.
In short: Spotify has more official songs, but YouTube has far, far more music that's actually available to listen to. The one caveat to YouTube Music's awesome library right now is that library management is still somewhat lacking. Everything you do in YouTube Music shows up in YouTube's main app, from searches to added albums to every song you listen to cluttering up your watch history. Spotify is known for its algorithms.
From the Daily Mixes that will adjust and tweak their listening-based stations every day to the much-beloved Discover Weekly to everyday artist- and playlist-based radio stations, Spotify's recommendations are consistently lauded by tech enthusiasts and music addicts alike. They even break out the algorithm-based Daily Mixes into several different mixes so that you can get more rock recommendations without the teeny pop you play for your daughter sneaking in.
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YouTube Music's algorithms don't have the pedigree of Spotify's, and they only have two main mixes for users: Your Mixtape and Offline mixtape. In the new YouTube Music, all genre radio stations have been completely hidden unless you explicitly ask for them, but a radio station button sits at the top of every artist page. And once you get a station going, Google's stations shine like the diamonds in the rough they are. YouTube Music has years of YouTube history to feed its radio algorithms as well as the recommendations that litter the Home feed. Spotify's algorithms may package things a little better with Daily Mixes , but those 7 mixes still haven't learned me as well in months as YouTube Music has in a week.
Offline Mixtape takes the algorithm from Your Mixtape and uses it to generate a playlist that is regenerated and re-downloaded daily. You choose how many songs the playlist includes, up to , and it presents you with a new mix every day to rock out to during your commute. Offline Mixtape is a downloadable Daily Mix, something that not even Spotify's many mixes can do.
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YouTube Music is still its early stages and is lacking a great many features. There are serious UI bugs, especially when using the app offline, casting, and trying to manage or browse your own library, as every category in Your Library is sorted by date added rather than name. YouTube Music's audio quality right now is stuck at average. Spotify offers audio streaming qualities up to kbps via Spotify Premium's "Extreme" audio quality option, whereas YouTube Music's current music quality in the app is about kbps. YouTube Music has told Android Central that more robust audio quality settings are coming in an upcoming update, but they're not here quite yet.
Spotify also has Android Auto support, something every music subscription service should have in , and video-based YouTube Music needs that even more than most. For now, YouTube Music sounds fine unless you're an audio snob, and it's a bit buggy.
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We expect things to improve soon, but we have to compare what we have right now. Spotify has almost a decade head-start over YouTube Music: a decade to build a loyal user base around the world, one of the best-known brands in music, and enough history with its users to deliver consistent and consistently awesome mixes to its users daily, weekly, and yearly. It's also had a decade to smooth out its rough edges and refine their experience, while YouTube Music is still firmly in the growing pains stage of its development.
Read more: Everything you need to know about Spotify.
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