FCC Chairman officially throws support behind T-Mobile-Sprint merger

T-Mobile Sprint merger John Legere Marcelo Claure

T-Mobile and Sprint got some good news today in their progress toward completing their merger.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has formally approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. “The deal would advance fast #5G across the country, help close the #digitaldivide, and put critical mid-band spectrum to use,” Pai said on Twitter. 

Now that FCC Chairman Pai has formally recommended that the T-Mobile and Sprint merger be approved, he is submitting a draft Order for the other FCC commissioners to vote on. Commissioners Brendan Carr and Mike O’Rielly came out in support of the merger earlier this year, but not all of the FCC’s commissioners are on board with the deal.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has said that she’s “not convinced that removing a competitor  will lead to better outcomes for consumers.” She added that the public should have the chance to comment on the merger and that “too much here has been done behind closed doors.”

T-Mobile and Sprint previously made several promises to help get their merger approved, including the sale of Boost Mobile and the commitment not to raise prices for three years. The draft Order submitted by FCC Chairman Pai also requires T-Mo and Sprint to cover at least 99 percent of Americans with 5G within six years.

While getting a formal recommendation for approval from the FCC Chairman is big for T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger, the deal isn’t a lock quite yet. A couple of months ago, several state attorneys general filed a lawsuit to block the merger, arguing that it will lead to less competition, higher prices for consumers, and fewer jobs. More states have joined the lawsuit since then, and this week Oregon became the 16th member of the lawsuit. That trial is currently slated to begin in December.

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