FCC Approves T-Mobile, Sprint Merger with Conditions

The FCC said the merger will help close the digital divide and boost the United States’ leadership in 5G, the next generation of wireless internet. Under the merger, both companies have made pledges to advance the tech.

by Devin Perez, Columbia Basin Herald / November 7, 2019

(TNS) — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the T-Mobile and Sprint merger under specific conditions after reviewing the proposed merger for over a year.

The FCC said Tuesday the merger will help close the digital divide and boost the United States’ leadership in 5G, the next generation of wireless internet. Under the merger, T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to deploying 5G to 97% of Americans within three years, and 99% of Americans within six years once the merger is finalized.

The commitment between the two wireless companies also includes deploying 5G service that will cover 85% of Americans living in the rural United States within three years and 90% of Americans living in rural communities within six years.

To ensure T-Mobile and Sprint comply with the conditions that the commission outlined in order to approve the merger, officials say extensive drive-testing will be performed by an independent third-party to verify customers will receive the service T-Mobile and Sprint promised to deliver.

“And in order to ensure that these commitments are met, the parties will be required to make payments that could reach over two billion dollars if they do not meet their commitments within six years. The Commission also concluded that the transaction, as conditioned, would not harm competition. Specifically, the Commission found that the transaction would enhance competition in rural America and among quality-conscious consumers along with strengthening competition in the home broadband and enterprise markets,” the FCC stated in a press release.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the merger is in public interest and boost the United States’ position in the 5G space.

“After a lengthy and painstaking review process, the Commission has correctly concluded that this transaction is in the public interest. 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. I’ll start with 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity. This transaction will provide New T-Mobile with the scale and spectrum resources necessary to deploy a robust 5G network across the United States. Specifically, its 5G network will cover 97% of our nation’s population within three years of the closing of the merger and 99% of Americans within six years. What does this mean for American consumers? With New T-Mobile’s network, 90% of Americans would have access to mobile broadband service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps, and 99% would have access to speeds of at least 50 Mbps,” FCC Ajit Pai said Tuesday.

©2019 the Columbia Basin Herald, Wash. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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