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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.

Go deeper

28 mins ago - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.