Oct 16, 2019

FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint deal

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.