It's been well over a year since Sprint and T-Mobile, the third and fourth-largest carriers in the United States, announced their plans to merge into a new company, referred to as New T-Mobile. The deal has faced some friction from regulators, with requirements including the creation of a new carrier to take the place left behind by the merger. Nonetheless, back in July, the Department of Justice finally approved of the merger deal, and now, the Federal Communications Commission has, too.
As reported by Reuters, the FCC voted to approve the merger between the two companies, with votes aligning with the party split among the FCC commissioners. That is to say, the three Republican commissioners - including chairman Ajit Pai - voted favorably towards the deal, with the two Democratic commissioners voting against it.
The decision marks another step towards the completion of the deal, but it is not the final one. A group of state attorneys general has previously filed a lawsuit against the merger, and the results of that process are yet unknown.
The main reasons for this friction have to do with potential job cuts, since there is likely to be some redundancy between positions currently occupied in both companies, and reduced competition. The latter point may have been partly addressed with the promise to sell off Boost Mobile, which is part of the reason the deal got approval from the Department of Justice and the FCC. That may not be enough to deter the ongoing lawsuit, however.