US: FCC’s Wheeler cheers at demise of Sprint, T-Mobile deal

The head of the Federal Communications Commission lauded the news that Sprint parent company SoftBank would end discussions with T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom to strike a merger, say reports.

Tom Wheeler said Wednesday that maintaining the US wireless market with four major players is “good for American consumers.” Further, he said that Sprint “now has an opportunity to focus their efforts on robust competition.”

Wheeler offered a brief statement after news emerged that Sprint would no longer pursue plans to acquire T-Mobile and merge the nation’s third- and fourth-place wireless competitors.

The transaction would have faced intense scrutiny from the US Department of Justice, the FCC and consumer advocates. Reports say it was unusual for the DOJ and FCC to have been so publically critical of the tie-up.

Sprint decided to end its takeover plans after several obstacles emerged in addition to the expected antitrust review. French wireless operator Iliad emerged last week with a $15 billion takeover offer of T-Mobile to rival Sprint’s $32 billion bid.

Additionally, the FCC said last week that it was considering altering the rules for its planned spectrum auction that would disallow companies to submit joint bids for spectrum. Those rule changes would have thwarted Sprint and T-Mobile’s reported plans to jointly bid on spectrum in preparation for their merger.

Full content: Reuters

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