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The FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger

2019-11-06 16:35 by
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The Federal Communications Commission formally approved T-Mobile's acquisition of Sprint on Tuesday. The news comes after the U.S Department of Justice in July agreed to approve the merger, with the condition that the newly combined entity agree to sell Sprint's Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint-branded prepaid mobile services to Dish Network for $1.4 billion. Dish has been attempting to pivot from its longtime satellite foundation toward a future as a mobile player.

The FCC believes the deal will close the digital divide and advance 5G in the US. T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to deploying 5G service to cover 97 percent of Americans within three years. They've also pledged to provide 90 percent of Americans with access to mobile service with speeds of at least 100 Mbps within six years. The FCC's approval is conditional on those promises, and the parties could be fined over $2 billion if they don't meet those goals.

The two mobile companies have been attempting to merge for years, ostensibly in order to compete with the considerably larger AT&T and Verizon. The merger would reduce the number of major wireless carriers in the US from four to three. T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to hold off on closing the deal until a decision comes down in a pending lawsuit seeking to block the merger. Multiple state attorneys general filed the suit, arguing the deal will decrease competition.

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