T-Mobile's merger with MetroPCS passes key hurdle

The U.S. Justice Department has let its review period pass without taking action against the deal

T-Mobile USA is drawing closer to finishing its merger with MetroPCS Wireless as a deadline for action by the U.S. Department of Justice passed on Tuesday.

T-Mobile agreed last October to merge with the smaller MetroPCS, forming a larger No. 4 national carrier in the U.S. and one better able to build out an attractive LTE network. U.S. antitrust law dictates a waiting period for such deals to allow time for DOJ review. That waiting period ended on Tuesday without the DOJ acting to block the merger.

The proposed deal is still subject to other regulatory approvals, including from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. MetroPCS shareholders also need to pass the proposal. But the passing of the waiting period is good news for the two carriers.

The would-be partners aren't expected to face much legal backlash against their plan, because it would create a stronger rival to the two big carriers that dominate the U.S. market, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The idea of T-Mobile teaming up with a smaller player is a far cry from the merger with T-Mobile that the much larger AT&T proposed in March 2011. AT&T finally dropped that plan after strong opposition from the DOJ and the Federal Communications Commission. Critics said that deal would have hurt competition.

On Tuesday. MetroPCS said it expects the deal with T-Mobile to close shortly after a special meeting of MetroPCS shareholders on April 12. Once the deal is final, T-Mobile is expected to start converting 3G cell towers and phones for MetroPCS, which are based on CDMA, to T-Mobile's GSM-based technology. That process is likely to take until the end of 2015. Though both companies are migrating toward newer LTE technology, a 3G network will still be needed for wide coverage and voice calls for some time.

Joining forces with MetroPCS will boost T-Mobile's subscriber count from 33 million to 42 million, the companies said at the time of the merger deal. It would remain the fourth-largest U.S. carrier by subscribers, after AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Nextel. The expanded T-Mobile will continue to focus on value for money, emphasizing low-cost, no-contract and unlimited data plans.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of Justicebusiness issuesCarrierstelecommunicationMetroPCS WirelessregulationT-Mobile USAgovernmentMergers and acquisitions

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?