Chairman of US telecoms regulator backs T-Mobile, Sprint merger

A sign for a T Mobile store is seen in Manhattan New York

In a separate press release, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he approves of the changes that T-Mobile has made for its Sprint merger proposal and urged his fellow FCC members to approve it.

Those include mobile 5G and home broadband deployments, the promise to divest Boost Mobile, a commitment to not raise prices. Lyft, Uber, Snapchat, Tinder, Venmo, Square, Instagram...these are companies that simply do not exist without 4G.

"I believe that this transaction is in the public interest and intend to recommend to my colleagues that the FCC approve it", Pai stated. If that doesn't happen, New T-Mobile will be subject to penalty fees. The carrier adds that it intends to get speeds of 100Mbps or higher to 99 percent of the USA population in six years and 50Mbps or higher to 99 percent of the population, and it says that it plans to verify those speeds with drive tests. The new Boost could buy network access from T-Mobile for at least six years.

FCC officials also gave more specifics about the mid-band 5G spectrum parameters of the deal, which comes with different milestones. They have been weighing potential a loss of competition and higher prices for consumers against the prospect of a more powerful No. 3 wireless carrier that can build a faster, better 5G network. Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, said Monday he will vote for the deal.

"The New T-Mobile will be a disruptive rival with the resources to go toe-to-toe with established behemoths to drive competition and innovation that benefits everyone, everywhere", T-Mobile U.S. CEO John Legere said in a statement.

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Pai released a statement saying that because T-Mobile and Sprint have committed to covering nearly the entire country with 5G over the next three years (97% of the population), increasing buildout of their mid-band spectrum holdings, creating another home broadband choice for rural customers who don't have many, and selling off Boost, Sprint's prepaid brand, he is willing to recommend an approval.

The companies also agreed to divest Sprint's Boost Mobile prepaid division within 120 days of the closing of the merger, a move created to address potential competitive issues in the prepaid wireless segment. "The little bit of price competition people have enjoyed thanks to the rivalry between Sprint and T-Mobile could keep sending prices lower". Some would argue that combining the rapidly growing T-Mobile with Sprint will produce a new mobile powerhouse that would put more pressure on Verizon and AT&T than if the deal was rejected.

T-Mobile and Sprint will have to deliver on the speed promise within six years, FCC officials told reporters. "We've seen this kind of consolidation in airlines and with drug companies", she said. "It hasn't worked out well for consumers", Comissioner Rosenworcel tweeted today. "But now the FCC wants to bless the same kind of consolidation for wireless carriers".

Boost is a reseller, so it will have to rely on access to the merged company's network, whereas now it resells Sprint service.

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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