3-2 Vote Carries Merger

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Democratic FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks voted to block the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint Wednesday. Their three Republican colleagues — Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr — had already cast votes approving the transaction. Today’s actions mean the voting period at the agency ends and the deal carries by a 3 to 2 vote along party lines.

The Department of Justice already approved the merger, with conditions. Today’s FCC vote is one more step in the process, given that a multi-state Attorney General lawsuit to block the deal is pending.

Rosenworcel said she voted against the merger “because less competition is not good for consumers. Higher prices and less competition will be bad for 5G,” she noted in an Op Ed in The Atlantic. “Network improvements that will bring us the next generation of wireless service, known as 5G, will proceed more slowly and yield fewer jobs without the fuel of competitive pressure,” she said.

Colleague FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the Op Ed ignores market realities and the disruptive new 5G competition the country is already seeing. “Voting for this transaction means that 99 percent of Americans will get 5G on an accelerated basis,” Carr added. “Voting against it means they won’t.”

October 16, 2019

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