T-Mobile and Sprint's merger has moved one step closer to completion.
The FCC today formally approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger after all five commissioners submitted a vote. An announcement hasn't been made by the FCC yet, but an agency official has confirmed to The Verge that all of the votes have been submitted and approval has been granted.
Of the five commissioners, Chairman Ajit Pai as well as Commissioners Mike O'Rielly and Brendan Carr voted to approve the merger. Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks voted against approval.
"Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will reduce competition, raise prices, lower quality, and slow innovation," said Commissioner Rosenworcel in a statement. "Moreover, the remedies that are supposed to save consumers from the problems with this merger do little more than camouflage its harm."
Commissioner Starks also voiced concerns about the merger. "In short, I believe that T-Mobile and Sprint have not proven that their merger will benefit the public interest," he explained. "Vague promises do not change what was true when this deal was first proposed and what remains true today — the harms from this merger are not overcome by any condition imposed in the majority's order. While I hope for the sake of consumers that I am wrong, I fear that we will one day look back at this decision and recognize it as a moment that forever changed the U.S. wireless industry, and not for the better."
The U.S. Department of Justice announced its approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger a few months ago, meaning T-Mo and Sprint have cleared the regulatory hurdles necessary for their deal to move forward. The deal can't close quite yet, though, because a group of 17 state attorneys general are suing to block the merger, saying that it will lessen competition, raise prices, and reduce jobs. T-Mo and Sprint have said that they won't close their merger until that lawsuit is resolved. The trial is set to begin on December 9th, so the two carriers have a bit longer to wait before they can complete their deal.