FCC approval makes T-Mobile/Sprint merger almost a done deal

Ajit Pai
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has openly supported the T-Mobile/Sprint merger.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The FCC has reportedly granted its approval for the multi-billion dollar merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. This is one of the last hurdles before the third- and fourth-largest US carriers blend into one almost as large as AT&T and Verizon.

The vote by the Federal Communications Commission hasn’t been officially announced yet, but Reuters was leaked the result. Chairman Ajit Pai was already on the record as supporting the megamerger, and his two Republican commissioners reportedly voted with him. Both Democratics on the commission opposed this deal.

Since announcing their $26 billion merger, T-Mobile and Sprint have argued that each also is too small to create a 5G infrastructure capable of competing with their larger rivals.

T-Mobile/Sprint merger tied up in the courts

The Department of Justice gave its approval to combining Sprint in T-Mobile back in July, so the deal would likely be going ahead… except that no less than 18 state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit to block it.

Documents filed in the suit argue that reducing the number of US nationwide carriers from four to three would result in increased costs of phone service for everyone, while also leading to significant layoffs at T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s retail stores.

The two carriers have argued that cost savings from combining their 5G efforts will let them offer the service at lower prices. They have also promised their merged company will employ more people than each did separately.

If the T-Mobile/Sprint merger makes it over this last hurdle, the combination will be called New T-Mobile, and will be headed by John Legere, T-Mobile’s current CEO. Based on current figures, it will have a customer base nearly the size of AT&T’s, but not as large as Verizon’s.

This article was originally posted here