updated 04:58 pm EDT, Tue March 12, 2013
Combined carrier will provide service to 33.2 million customers
Earlier today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowed T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom to merge its US wireless division with MetroPCS. The FCC believes that the combination will speed LTE deployment, expand MetroPCS into new markets, and overall build a stronger and faster national telecommunications network. The deal, announced in October, would see the nation's fourth-largest carrier merging with its fifth-largest. MetroPCS' 9.3 million-strong customer base would be added to T-Mobile's existing 33.2 million customers
The Department of Justice allowed the 30-day antitrust waiting period to lapse without comment, giving tacit approval to the deal. Assuming the shareholders approve the deal, $1.5 billion in cash will be paid to stock owners, and they will be provided a total 26 percent share in the merged company. Major shareholders P. Schoenfeld Asset Management and Paulson and Company are voting against the merger, citing too much combined debt. The combined pair own nearly 20 percent of the company.
FCC chairman Julian Genachowski said in a statement about the merger that "with today’s approval, America’s mobile market continues to strengthen, moving toward robust competition and revitalized competitors. Today’s action will benefit millions of American consumers and help the US maintain the global leadership in mobile it has regained in recent years."
MetroPCS and T-Mobile USA currently use different network technologies, meaning that T-Mobile telephones would not be able to operate on MetroPCS' network, and vice versa. Both companies, though, are rolling out 4G networks, and their networks should be interoperable in the future.