The Federal Communications Commission approved T-Mobile’s prospective purchase of Sprint, Bloomberg reports. In a 3-to-2 Republican-led vote last month, the commission echoed the decision made by the Justice Department earlier this year to allow the $26.5 billion deal to go through. The deal would require both carriers to sell their airwaves to Dish Network Corp. to allow for the creation of a new wireless network. “The transaction will help secure United States leadership in 5G, close the digital divide in rural America, and enhance competition in the broadband market,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.
However, T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed not to finalize the purchase until a decision is made in the multi-state lawsuit challenging the deal. The states claim the merging of the third- and fourth-largest wireless providers in America would decrease competition and increase prices. The FCC claimed the deal would “not substantially lessen competition.” The trial date for the lawsuit is reportedly set for early next month.