A public vote to approve the merger will likely be held at the next FCC meeting on September 26.
What you need to know
- FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has formally recommended the approval of the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.
- The draft order circulated by Pai explains the merger between the two carriers will help advance the deployment of 5G wireless networks in the United States.
- The proposed merger had received the green light from the Justice Department last month.
In a statement, Pai said:
After one of the most exhaustive merger reviews in Commission history, the evidence conclusively demonstrates that this transaction will bring fast 5G wireless service to many more Americans and help close the digital divide in rural areas. Moreover, with the conditions included in this draft order, the merger will promote robust competition in mobile broadband, put critical mid-band spectrum to use, and bring new competition to the fixed broadband market.
The draft order was prepared following a comprehensive review of the proposed merger. It explains that the proposed merger will not only help increase 5G infrastructure deployment in the U.S. but also result in improved network quality and coverage. One of the enforceable conditions in the draft order requires closing the digital divide by bringing 5G connectivity to at least 99% of Americans within six years.
Last month, the Justice Department approved the $26.5 billion merger between the two carriers after the two companies agreed to sell Sprint’s prepaid assets to Dish Network in order to create a fourth wireless player. Now that Ajit Pai has formally endorsed the merger deal, the FCC will likely vote to approve the deal soon.
However, the two carriers still need to deal with the lawsuits filed by Attorneys General in 10 states. According to FOX Business Network, T-Mobile and Sprint have taken a small step to initiate settlement discussions with the Attorneys General.