T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger gets approval from the FCC

tmobile-sprint-merger-large

Two months after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recommended that T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger be approved, that’s precisely what has happened.

The FCC has voted to formally approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. There’s no official announcement of this news quite yet, but an FCC official has confirmed to The Verge that the agency has voted to give the merger the green light.

We learned earlier this month that T-Mo and Sprint’s deal had reportedly gotten majority FCC support, with three of the five commissioners voting “yes” for the merger, including Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Brendan Carr and Mike O’Rielly.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel today put out a statement saying that she voted against the deal. “We’ve all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one,” Rosenworcel said. “Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will reduce competition, raise prices, lower quality, and slow innovation.”

Rosenworcel also wrote an op-ed for The Atlantic today in which she explained why she is opposed to the merger. “The promises that T-Mobile and Sprint are making do little more than camouflage the damage this transaction will cause the competition,” the FCC commissioner says. “For instance, the agreement to freeze prices is littered with loopholes for fees and surcharges. Plus, keeping rates constant is not an especially good deal for consumers when wireless prices have been falling.”

Geoffrey Starks, the fifth FCC commissioner, also put out a statement today confirming that he voted against approving T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger. “You don’t need to be an expert to know that going from four wireless carriers to three will hurt competition,” Starks said. “This merger takes a bad situation and makes it worse. Higher prices and fewer options across the country will inevitably result. Quite simply, the effects of this ill-conceived merger will hit low-income and rural communities hardest of all.”

While T-Mobile and Sprint have now secured the regulatory approval necessary for their merger to move forward, it won’t close quite yet. That’s because a group of 17 state attorneys general are suing to block the merger, and T-Mo and Sprint have agreed to not close their merger until that lawsuit is finished. The trial in that lawsuit is set to begin on December 9th.

Sources: The Verge, FCC (1), (2)The Atlantic

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  • riverhorse

    ,” Rosenworcel said. “Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will reduce competition, raise prices, lower quality, and slow innovation.”

    Dollars to doughnuts this phrase gets plagiarized at the next Dumbocrat Debate…oops, I’ve microagressed.

    • Trevnerdio

      But if the politicians don’t virtue signal, who will?!

      • riverhorse

        Lol. Maybe also the parents of the 9yo transgender speaker at the last debate.
        Which reminds me – my pronoun is it: despicable me. Rotf

      • Trevnerdio

        Downvote me all you want – politicians (on all parts of the spectrum) are corrupt as the day is long and only care about looking out for numero uno.

        • Android_God

          Do down votes hurt your feelings snowflake?

        • Website Administrator

          You are just a toxic person, aren’t you?

      • Jose Mendoza

        I just got what you meant and it makes so much sense! This “anti merger” opposition is fake as can be. You know they will all bend over when $$ is waved in front of them. Just ask about the Trump hotel situation or the $$ being waved in front of the “anti merger” DAs lol
        They don’t give a flying flip about it lol
        Virtue Signaling, is more like them begging for $$

    • Android_God

      Time for your boner pills and denture paste Grandpa!

      • riverhorse

        I’m not anywhere nearly as old as you think I am.

        I do have an idea how old you are though.
        Kindly look up at what age a male adult brain finally reaches full size.

        That should temper your smugness, realizing that you still are missing a large chunk of it.

        Once that is completed, you’ll have another 3,4, 5 decades of learning and maturing.

        And every 10 years, as you take stock of your past, you’ll realize how unaware you were just a decade earlier.

        Happens to everyone.
        So don’t be too sure of anything.

        Ronald Reagan was an extreme Leftist while in his twenties.

        But most of us lose patience after repeatedly witnessing each new know it all generation wanting to reinvent the wheel.
        The only thing that changes is the minor ďetails. Actual drugs abused – before cocaine was morphine, violent criminals are just a different ethnic group every so often, sports– every generation has a new set of prima donnas cheating with new substances du jour.
        Same old sameo, only the wigs and dresses have changed. Fake News was Yellow Journalism eons ago. Party out of power falsely accusing the other to regain majority. Failed socialism gets recycled with a new mask and different set of false victims with each new know it all generation, re-irritating their elders yet again.. .with the pretext of a couple of corrupt businessmen supposedly proving capitalism evil. No wonder old people have a grumpy image.
        The merry go round never ends.

        Don’t be smug.

    • Red

      Dimwit needs to look up the definition of “evidence”. It’s impossible to have “evidence” of something that hasn’t happened. And screaming doesn’t make anything true. If you wanna suggest that other companies’ past performance *might suggest* that whatever, whatever… that’s fine. But to state as a fact that …”evidence demonstrates that…. *will* reduce…” (emphasis mine) is just a blatant outright LIE.

    • So, you can be smug while lecturing others not to be. Got it.

  • npaladin2000

    Yeah, I suppose someone thinks 2 big carriers and 2 small carriers that can’t hope to challenge the big boys must be better than 3 carriers that can actually compete with each other. Oh, wait….

  • superg05

    THIS IS THE CORRUPT TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OF COURSE IT WAS GONNA BE APPROVE NO MATTER HOW MANY SUED TO OPPOSE IT

    • You’d rather have sprint go bankrupt basically

      • George B

        The options were A) do nothing and Sprint goes bankrupt, B) Sprint sells off assets like a big chunk of their 2.5 GHz licenses and shrinks, or C) Sprint merges with another company. The proposed deal tries to split the difference between Sprint disappearing into New T-Mobile and Sprint shrinking. Spinning off Sprint’s 800 MHz licenses and Sprint’s MVNOs to Dish potentially helps a new 4th nationwide cellular carrier get started. The problem is that even a shrunken Sprint would start with a functioning 4G network and decades of experience while Dish starts with licenses and promises that they’ll build a 5G network in the future. Regional carriers like US Cellular have made more effort to compete than Dish ever has. A cynical view would be that T-Mobile is paying a premium above buying Sprint licenses option B) to make a competitor go away, helping Dish with the expectation that they’ll never get their act together enough to put downward pressure on prices. However, you’re correct that Sprint going bankrupt is probably the worst option for consumers.

      • Jerry Rich

        Short answer, let nature take its course!

    • Ryan Martin

      LMAO. This is a good deal Trump has nothing to do with it.

  • Christopher Lee Sims

    With as much spectrum as Dish has hoarded I think they will prove to be far more competitive than people give them credit for. Not to mention Dish is pretty much the only choice in Sat tv at this point and with as much money as they have in the bank at this point they will build out their network much quicker than people think I suspect. That’s just my thoughts on the whole situation.

    • George B

      Nobody has been preventing Dish from building a cellular network if they wanted to.

  • Jay Holm

    Why don’t these states understand that the federal government oversees INTERSTATE commerce??? Two companies merging is up to the DOJ, and FCC….not individual states!

  • Tmobile definitely will be challenging the status quo once this deal is done. I hate they have to give up 800mhz but I guess it’s for the best

    • ugp5

      Feds should have made Dish give TMO its 600mhz in exchange for the 800mhz

      • 600mhz is better then 800mhz but 800mhz is already cleared so that’s a advantage

  • Bklynman

    I am not for or against this,I like to know will Tmo/Sprint still be selling Samsung windows tablet, since Tmo is the only major carrier doesn’t have an lte windows tablet,Sprint sell them,also I check out Sprint phones,they have more choices than Tmo,will that change too, less phones models?

    • marque2

      Hard to say. I have noticed TMobile offers fewer devices as well. However they are more receptive than others with BYOD and will even offer support.

      • Website Administrator

        I hope they support the Surface Duo and Surface Neo next year. While Microsoft will likely not offer them exclusive to any carrier, it would be a nice boost if they sold it through all carriers and T-Mobile was one of them.

  • othercents

    Why is the FCC making decisions like they are the FTC? There decision should be based on spectrum and making sure all companies have a competitive amount of spectrum, but not other factors of competition like monopolies or pricing. If the merger is an issue then the FTC will need to get involved and the states should be filing a complaint with the FTC.

    • Website Administrator

      FCC = Federal Communications Commission. One of their roles is to regulate the communications in the country, including carriers. The FTC only needs to approve some mergers. The FTC and DOJ share jurisdiction over merger review, and transactions requiring further review are assigned to one agency on a case-by-case basis depending on which agency has more expertise with the industry involved. In this case, the FCC has more expertise, so it falls on them, not the FTC, to approve the merger. Hope this helps.