Hot on the heels of reports that the FCC would approve the T-Mobile merger at the bureau level and not a full vote — comes exactly that result. The flash just hit Bloomberg News, leaving any remaining obstacles to the merger to come from the MetroPCS shareholder meeting in April.
From the FCC finding:
Based on the record before us and our review of the competitive effects of the proposed transaction, we find that approval of the transaction will serve the public interest. In considering the applications before us, we evaluate the likely competitive effects of the proposed transaction at both the local and national levels. The proposed transaction raises horizontal competition issues because it would result in the combination of overlapping mobile wireless coverage and services in various markets, as well as the transfer of customers of two current competitors to the newly combined entity, referred to by the Applicants as “Newco.”2 On these issues, we find that the transaction is not likely to result generally in competitive or other public interest harms. In addition, to the extent there may be some possible competitive harms in selected geographic areas, we find that these possible competitive harms are outweighed by certain public interest benefits likely to result from the proposed transaction. Such benefits include the facilitation of Long Term Evolution (“LTE”) deployment, the expansion of the MetroPCS brand into new geographical markets, the development of a more robust, national network, improved quality of service, and the strengthening of the fourth largest nationwide service provider’s ability to compete in the mobile broadband services market. In summary, we find that any potential public interest harms would be outweighed by the resulting public interest benefits and we conclude that, on balance, the transaction is in the public interest. Accordingly, we approve it for the reasons discussed below.
Read the full FCC finding at the links below: