Oct 16, 2019

FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint deal

T-Mobile logo on storefront

The T-Mobile logo is seen outside a shop in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

The FCC formally approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, with both Democrats at the commission voting against the deal Wednesday.

Why it matters: The companies needed federal approval of the merger from the FCC. The approval from the expert agency in the space could aid the wireless companies as they fight a lawsuit from a coalition of states determined to block the merger.

Driving the news: Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks both announced their opposition to the deal, which will reduce the number of nationwide wireless carriers from four to three.

  • "You don't need to be an expert to know that going from four wireless carriers to three will hurt competition," Starks said in a statement. "This merger takes a bad situation and makes it worse. Higher prices and fewer options across the country will inevitably result."

Flashback: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in May signaled the agency's likely approval of the deal, after securing commitments from the companies on rural broadband buildout and 5G deployment. But Rosenworcel said those remedies "do little more than camouflage its harm."

  • The Justice Department in July gave the merger a green light after the companies agreed to further concessions, including selling assets to satellite TV company Dish to enable it to enter the wireless market.
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