The proposed merger between T-Mobile and MetroPCS is one step closer to becoming the real deal, folks, as another governmental/regulatory body has approved the deal. Following the apparent nod of approval by the Department of Justice (they let the evaluation period expire with no objections, which is pretty much seen as an approval), the FCC has given its thumbs up on the $1.5 billion deal that will see Deutsche Telekom owning 74% of a new company formed by the two.
Even with the FCC’s blessing, though, there’s still work to be done. MetroPCS has to hold a shareholders’ meeting where the folks who have stake in the company will vote on whether or not they want this deal to go through. This is a step that isn’t necessarily seen as an issue, but recent murmurings suggest not everyone is on the bandwagon for this to happen. Several shareholders, including some top hedge-funds, have reportedly expressed distaste, saying MetroPCS is being severely undervalued.
The voting process will commence in another few weeks or so, and that will ultimately determine how all of this plays out. It’s worthy to note that even if shareholders vote against the merger there’s still a chance Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS can tweak some details and flip some numbers to make everyone happy.
In other words, any fear of objections by the FCC, Department of Justice, and any other anti-competitive protection groups are gone, and now it’s all down to Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS to make this happen smoothly. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski had this to say:
“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.”
It sounds like he’s quite excited to give T-Mobile a chance to grow and remain competitive to keep Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon from getting too big. T-Mobile will look to gain control over significant spectrum used by MetroPCS, and that should help get its LTE network off the ground. The FCC wants a faster, more connected America and giving the fourth largest carrier the digital capital to do so.