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FCC approves SoftBank’s Sprint offer

US operator T-Mobile USA is offering 200MB of free LTE data each month to tablet users across the States, even if they are not already a T-Mobile subscriber.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Japanese operator SoftBank’s proposed takeover of US operator Sprint. The Commission decided that the transaction will serve public interest.

Last month, Sprint shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of a takeover bid from SoftBank. Approximately 98 per cent of shareholders voted for the merger after the Japanese firm increased the value of its offer earlier this month by $1.5bn to $21.6bn.

The FCC noted that SoftBank’s decision to invest in the US market is very different to when domestic operators seek to acquire stakes in each other. SoftBank has no overlapping service areas or spectrum holdings in the US and therefore the transaction will not result in the elimination of an existing competitor, it said.

“Rather, SoftBank, which has no attributable interests in any spectrum licenses in the United States, is seeking approval, inter alia, to use approximately $16.64bn to purchase shares from existing Sprint shareholders, and plans to provide an additional $5bn to Sprint that it can invest in its network and use to provide wireless broadband service,” the FCC said in a statement.

“We find that these proposed transactions are not likely to result in competitive or other public interest harms in the provision of mobile wireless services.”

In addition, the FCC said that it anticipates that the proposed transactions likely will result in key public interest benefits, acceleration of deployment of advanced mobile broadband services and enhanced competition in the mobile wireless market, through the increased investment by Softbank in the Sprint and Clearwire networks.

“Thus, we conclude that the transactions are in the public interest, and we approve them subject to the conditions contained herein.”

Telecoms.com readers have also voted overwhelmingly in favour of Softbank’s offer for Sprint.

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