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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday morning that he would recommend the agency approve the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.

Why it matters: The deal, which also requires federal approval from the Department of Justice, would reduce the number of national wireless carriers from 4 to 3. The FCC's announcement comes after the companies promised to divest Sprint's prepaid wireless brand, among other pledges, according to Pai.

What they're saying: "I believe that this transaction is in the public interest and intend to recommend to my colleagues that the FCC approve it," said Pai. "This is a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans."

  • Pai needs two votes in addition to his own for the deal to gain the agency's blessing.
  • Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said he would support the deal, while Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel said that she had "serious doubts" about it.

Details:

  • T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to divest Boost Mobile, Sprint's prepaid wireless offering, as well as other commitments related to building out its 5G wireless network.
  • That comes on top of an earlier commitment not to raise prices for three years.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to comment. The agency's review of the deal is ongoing.

  • A senior FCC official told reporters that its announcement was timed to the conclusion of its review, and that the DOJ and the FCC didn't always announce their decisions on deals at the same time.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more details.

Go deeper

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

U.S. Chamber decides against political ban for Capitol insurrection

A pedestrian passes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters as it undergoes renovation. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.