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FCC Okays T-Mobile/MetroPCS Merger - Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Okays T-Mobile/MetroPCS Merger

Chairman says meld will promote competition
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The FCC has approved the merger of T-Mobile and MetroPCS.

The National Association of Broadcasters had asked the FCC
to approve the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger. That, according to an NAB source, was
the first
time NAB has endorsed a wireless merger.

T-Mobile is one of the wireless carriers that the NAB teamed
up with to endorse a framework for the incentive auction band plan.

In a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, NAB
president Gordon Smith had urged the commission to approve the merger, saying
it was further evidence that the free market was the route to "purported
spectrum challenges."

Last October, T-Mobile and MetroPCS proposed a merger
creating a $24.8 billion, 42.5 million subscriber company. T-Mobile is a
subsidiary of German company Deutsche Telekom.

The FCC and Justice last fall blocked AT&T's bid to buy
T-Mobile, but that involved one of the two dominant carriers heavying up, while
this deal could create a stronger competitor to AT&T and Verizon.

"With today's approval, America's mobile market
continues to strengthen, moving toward robust competition and revitalized
competitors," said Genachowski in a statement on the deal approval.
"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."

The Justice Department also concluded its review of the deal, announcing Tuesday that "the Antitrust Division has determined that the combination of T-Mobile and MetroPCS is unlikely to harm consumers or substantially lessen competition and has closed its investigation."

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