A very important piece of the T-Mobile/MetroPCS puzzle has fallen into place today: getting the approval of the Federal Communications Commission. Citing increase in competition and the consumer benefits, the merger of T-Mobile and MetroPCS now has the FCC's official blessing. With this formality out of the way, the shareholders will now vote on March 28th to make this marriage a reality.
T-Mobile's previously proposed merger with AT&T was withdrawn from the FCC before approval, after meeting opposition from the Department of Justice. The DOJ feared that the elimination of the smaller, more budget-friendly T-Mobile would leave too little competition in the mobile marketplace for the much larger AT&T.
With the 4 billion dollars T-Mobile received from its breakup with AT&T, and now the potential merger with MetroPCS, things are going to get interesting between the big GSM carriers. What will AT&T do in response to a larger, more resourceful T-Mobile? What will happen to existing MetroPCS customers post-merger? Come speculate with us in the forums.
STATEMENT FROM FCC CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI ON THE T-MOBILE AND METROPCS TRANSACTION APPROVAL
Washington, D.C. – The following statement is attributable to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski:
With today’s approval, America’s mobile market continues to strengthen, moving toward robust competition and revitalized competitors. We are seeing billions more in network investment, while the courts have upheld key FCC decisions to accelerate broadband build-out, promote competition, and benefit consumers, including our broadband data roaming and pole attachment rules. Today’s action will benefit millions of American consumers and help the U.S maintain the global leadership in mobile it has regained in recent years.
Mobile broadband is a key engine of economic growth, with U.S. annual wireless capital investment up 40% over the last four years, the largest increase in the world, and few sectors having more potential to create jobs. In this fast-moving space, of course challenges remain, including the need to unleash even more spectrum for mobile broadband and continuing to promote competition and protect consumers. The Commission will stay focused on these vital goals.