It’s official! The proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger has formally been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today. A decision has finally been made after months of thorough, and sometimes heated, analysis of the proposed $26.5 billion merger of the two carriers.
The government agency believes that the deal will link together the digital divide in the country and will even advance the 5G service that T-Mobile and Sprint promised to deploy to cover 97 percent of consumers within the next three years. In addition to this, the two companies pledged to give 90 percent of citizens access to mobile service with at least 100 Mbps within six years. As long as those promises are met, the FCC is conditional on its approval. If the goals aren’t met, T-Mobile and Sprint could both be fined over $2 billion.
Contrary to what is being argued by several state attorneys general and a couple of FCC commissioners, the Commission believes that the merger between the two companies should not harm competition. Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said in a statement:
“While the parties promise their merger will accelerate the availability of some form of ‘5G’ for some Americans, history teaches us that the most likely effect of this merger will be higher prices and fewer options for all Americans.”
The FCC’s decision to formally approve the merger does not come as a surprise. The proposed merger has previously been approved by the Department of Justice and even endorsed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The only obstacle that the deal needs to overcome is the merger delay or blockage caused by the state attorneys general.