Mobile and Sprint merger receives approval recommendation from the FCC

T-Mobile and Sprint merger receives approval recommendation from the FCC

Together, Sprint and T-Mobile would have had control of almost 50% of the prepaid market, according to opponents of the deal. The full commission must still vote, and the Justice Department must also clear it. Critics will also make the case that combining the country's No. 3 and 4 carriers will ultimately restrict competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.

T-Mobile today confirmed that it's made a few commitments to the FCC with relation to its merger. Sprint has a huge amount of spectrum licensed in the 2.5 GHz band, ideal for 5G, but lacks the financial wherewithal on its own to build a 5G network in much of the country.

T-Mobile recently announced it was beginning to trial using its 4G LTE for home broadband while Sprint last week announced that its HTC 5G Hub, a hotspot that aims to replace a traditional modem and router, will be available in its first 5G markets on May 31.

The sale of Boost is aimed at resolving concerns that the deal would give the combined company 54% of the prepaid market, which generally includes those with poor credit who can not pay with a credit card. If approved, T-Mobile will still have two other no-contract carrier subsidiaries: Metro by T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

John Legere, chief executive of T-Mobile, cheered Pai's endorsement.

"In light of the significant commitments made by T-Mobile and Sprint as well as the facts in the record to date, I believe that this transaction is in the public interest and intend to recommend to my colleagues that the FCC approve it".

T-Mobile says it will submit annual reports regarding its progress in meeting its 5G and in-home broadband rollouts.

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Sprint has pushed hard for a combination with T-Mobile, citing deep concerns about being able to continue on as a standalone company given years of losses and withering competition in the wireless business.

Selling Sprint's pre-paid carrier Boost Mobile.

For the past four years, T-Mobile and Sprint have been trying to merge together. This also comes with speed requirements: the carriers have guaranteed that 90 percent of Americans will have access to mobile broadband speeds of at least 100Mbps, and 99 percent will have access to speeds of at least 50Mbps. Cable company Charter Communications was recently found to have failed to meet its merger commitments to offer high-speed Internet service in NY, for example. The speed gains will come largely from mid-band spectrum. And the companies pledged that new T-Mobile will not terminate Sprint's reseller agreement with cable operator Altice upon closing and that the merged entity "will engage in good-faith negotiations to expand the existing agreement between Sprint and Altice to the New T-Mobile 5G network", according to an 8-K filing by T-Mobile. Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, said on Monday he would vote in favor.

In a statement, Pai said that pledges by both companies to deploy fifth generation, or 5G, broadband speeds across most of the United States could meet an FCC priority of bridging the digital divide in rural America.

"We've seen this kind of consolidation in airlines and with drug companies", she wrote. "It hasn't worked out well for consumers", Comissioner Rosenworcel tweeted today.

We asked O'Rielly's office about his plans for the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, and will update this article if we get a response.


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