Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai said Monday he will recommend that a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint goes ahead. He said he had now received further assurances from the two companies after initial concerns were raised.
Closing The Digital Divide
In a statement, Mr. Pai said that he felt the merger would help close “the digital divide” and advance “United States leadership in 5G.” He said that the companies “have committed to deploying a 5G network that would cover 97% of our nation’s population within three years of the closing of the merger and 99% of Americans within six years.”
Mr. Pai stressed that the 5G network would be available in deeply rural areas, helping to tackle the digital divide. 85% of rural Americans will be covered in three years, he explained. That number will hit 90% within six years. Mr. Pai added that “T-Mobile and Sprint have guaranteed that 90% of Americans would have access to mobile broadband service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps and 99% would have access to speeds of at least 50 Mbps.”
Undertakings Convince FCC
Along with these provision assurances, the companies agreed to divest Boost Mobile. This is to counter any potential competition issues in the pre-paid wireless market. That came on top of the firm’s previous declaration that they will not raise prices for three years.
The statement explained that should the companies fail to meet these obligations they will be hit with fines worth billions of dollars. The Chairman concluded that given these undertakings, he will recommend the FCC approve the merger.