The Federal Communications Commission has officially released its order approving the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint following a contentious vote last month.
It all started in May, when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that he would approve the deal and recommend the same to his colleagues. The decision was formalized in the recent vote by FCC commissioners along party lines, with the two Democrats on the commission dissenting.
The Department of Justice has also approved the deal. As part of the regulatory review process, T-Mobile agreed to a time frame for deploying next-generation 5G networks and to divest Sprint subsidiary Boost Mobile. The merger still faces a lawsuit from a coalition of state attorneys general.
In dueling statements released today, Republican commissioners claimed the deal was in the economic interest of consumers and would improve wireless coverage and competition, ideas that have been disputed by consumer advocacy groups.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement: “In particular, the transaction will help secure United States leadership in 5G, close the digital divide in rural America, and enhance competition in the broadband market.”
Democrats on the commission responded by slamming the decision.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement: “Shrinking the number of national providers from four to three will hurt consumers, harm competition, and eliminate thousands of jobs. The merger will end a golden age in wireless.”