One step closer to Metro Mobile: FCC approves $1.5B T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger

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Metro Mobile, here we come. The FCC has approved the $1.5 billion merger between MetroPCS and T-Mobile USA, which would create a more powerful fourth-place wireless carrier in the United States.

T-Mobile confirmed its intent to merge with MetroPCS back in October, with a price of about $1.5 billion. The deal will help T-Mobile allocate new resources and fight off Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile is the fourth place carrier, and MetroPCS is in fifth place.

But the deal isn’t done quite yet due to regulatory approval and a vote among prospective shareholder. Now the FCC is out of the way, with chairman Julius Genachowski issuing the following statement:

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.

Alongside the FCC approval, MetroPCS mailed a letter today pushing for its stockholders to approve the deal.

“After a multiyear, thorough review of MetroPCS’s options, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisers, the MetroPCS board has unanimously concluded that the proposed combination with T-Mobile is the best strategic alternative for our stockholders,” the letter reads. “The immediate cash payment you will receive and the significant ownership interest you will hold in the combined company represent a substantial premium to MetroPCS’s standalone value.”

As long as that vote goes well, look for the merger to officially close soon.

Photo via T-Mobile

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