FCC Officials Announce Support for T-Mobile-Sprint Merger
It’s been a years-long wait, but the Sprint and T-Mobile merger seems to finally be heading towards a much anticipated approval. The two telecommunications firms received a major vote of confidence on Monday as the FCC Commissioner announced his support for the merger, citing increased competition and Sprint and T-Mobile’s commitment for a fast buildout of 5G service in rural America.
“I support the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint because Americans across the country will see more competition and an accelerated buildout of fast, 5G services,” Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a statement. “The proposed transaction will strengthen competition in the U.S. wireless market and provide mobile and in-home broadband access to communities that demand better coverage and more choices.”
For Sprint and T-Mobile, achieving the support of the nation’s communications oversight committee brings to a near-conclusion a journey that has included on-again, off-again talks between the two firms. This latest effort, which started more than a year ago, appeared to hinge on their combined efforts to offer a competitive 5G landscape to the American consumer, while offering a third option to Americans after the duopoly of Verizon and AT&T.
“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,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a separate statement announcing his plans to support and approve the merger. “This is a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans. We should seize this opportunity.”
Amazingly, the combined T-Mobile and Sprint company will still rank third behind Verizon and AT&T, respectively. According to Strategy Analytics data from last year, the new merged company will represent some 126.2 million subscribers, behind Verizon’s 150.5 million and AT&T’s 141.6 million. That said, their added and combined leverage, along with both companies’ efforts to offer a more cost competitive service—and their improved level of coverage as they combine their networks—will give them a major case to start plucking subscribers from the big two.
Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done to make this merger official, but the two sides took one major step forward on Monday.