FCC officially approves T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint but lawsuit still looms

FCC officially approves T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint but lawsuit still looms”

The Federal Communications Commission on a 3-2 Republican-led vote gave final USA regulatory approval to the US$26.5-billion deal proposed past year, said two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter hasn't been published.

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks was one of two Democrats to cast a dissenting vote Wednesday, according to Law360. A strongly worded piece in The Atlantic from one of the voting Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel attests to this. In her statement, Rosenworcel said, "We've all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one". The lawsuit is being led by Attorney General Letitia James from NY, with the main point of contention being that the merger would result in "irreparable harm to mobile subscribers nationwide by cutting access to affordable, reliable wireless service for millions of Americans". "In the aircraft business, it brought us stuff charges and littler seats".

In his statement, Starks said the approval came despite the FCC's ongoing investigation of Sprint for "what appears to be the largest unlawful collection of universal service funds in FCC history". There's no reason to think this time will be different. 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. That incorporates backups Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

Consumer advocates and economists have warned against the merger. A group of seven economists argued in a filing to the DOJ that the agency's plan involving Dish will not offset the merger's anticompetitive effects. The DOJ is accepting short- and medium-term competitive harms and justifying them "based on an exceedingly optimistic view of possible benefits in the longer term", they wrote.

Also, the remedies that are supposed to save consumers from the problems with this merger "do little more than camouflage its harm", Rosenworcel said.

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