The merger now hinges on the FCC’s forthcoming vote

The US’ Department of Justice, has given its approval for the long awaited merger between T-Mobile and Sprint to proceed.

The $26.5 billion merger, which will create America’s third biggest telco, was given the go-ahead following the partners agreement to divest their pay-as-you-go assets. Earlier this week, the pair agreed to sell off their pay-as-you-go business to Dish Networks for $5 billion.

"With this merger and accompanying divestiture, we are expanding output significantly by ensuring that large amounts of currently unused or underused spectrum are made available to American consumers in the form of high quality 5G networks,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. 

“Today’s settlement will provide Dish with the assets and transitional services required to become a facilities-based mobile network operator that can provide a full range of mobile wireless services nationwide.  I want to thank our state partners for joining us in this settlement.”  Delrahim added, “In crafting this remedy, we are also mindful of the significant commitments T-Mobile, Sprint, and Dish have made to the Federal Communications Commission.”

The DoJ approval is contingent upon the pair making up to 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations available to Dish.

In order for the deal to complete, the pair also need to obtain approval from the Federal Communications Commission. While the FCC is yet to officially vote on the deal, its chairman Ajit Pai came out in support of it, last month.

“In light of the significant commitments made by T-Mobile and Sprint as well as the facts in the record to date, I believe that this transaction is in the public interest and intend to recommend to my colleagues that the FCC approve it. This is a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans. We should seize this opportunity,” Pai said in a statement to the press.