Reports: FCC Approves T-Mobile and Sprint Merger on 3-2 Vote

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According to various news sources, the FCC has approved the controversial T-Mobile/Sprint merger along political party lines. While FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr voted to approve the merger, Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel cast dissenting votes, with the latter releasing both a formal statement and publishing an op-ed explaining her reasons for withholding support. It has also been reported that Commissioner Starks pressed Chairman Pai to add language that would penalize Sprint if an investigation proves that the company abused the Lifeline subsidy program. The Commission has yet to release the final order approving the merger, and there was no indication about what, if any, parts of the order pertain to Dish Network, which pledged to deploy a nationwide 5G network if the FCC granted the satellite provider build-out extensions for its AWS and 700 MHz licenses. Additionally, Dish agreed to buy various wireless assets from Sprint, including customers, cell sites, and stores, in order to create a replacement fourth nationwide, facilities-based, wireless carrier. Even with FCC support now allegedly finalized, the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint/Dish deal still needs to clear a lawsuit filed by several state Attorneys General attempting to block the merger and another court’s approval of the Consent Decree proposed by the DOJ, T-Mobile, Sprint and Dish.

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