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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

China deems all cryptocurrency transactions illegal

A person walking past China's central bank in Beijing in August 2007. Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

China's central bank declared on Friday that all cryptocurrencies are illegal, banning crypto-related transactions and cryptocurrency mining, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: China's government is now following through with its goal of cracking down on unofficial virtual currencies, which it has said are a financial, social and national security risk and a contributor to global warming.

Biden's big bet backfires

Two key dealmakers — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — leave a luncheon in the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.

Biden sinks in swing districts

Photo: Biden speaks about wild fires and climate change in Sacramento on September 13, 2021. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP via Getty Images

Sudden doubts about President Biden's competence — on Afghanistan, immigration and COVID — are driving double-digit drops in his approval in private polling in swing House seats, The Cook Political Report's Amy Walter writes.

Why it matters: "[T]hese early mistakes go directly to the very rationale of his presidency; that it would be low drama and high competence."