T-Mobile and Sprint have been talking about getting together and making 5G babies since April of last year, and with a preliminary nod from the FCC, it looks like the pair might be getting closer to approval for the merger.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai gave his approval for the merger after T-Mobile made significant promises for the growth of 5G in a post-merger world. He claims this will create a “unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans,” encouraging his FCC colleagues to also approve the deal.
Of course, T-Mobile’s promise of a broad 5G rollout has to be backed up, and the FCC’s approval will come with “enforceable requirements.” For instance, SprinT-Mobile (as I’ve lovingly been calling it) will need to offer low-band 5G to 97 percent of the country, with mid-band 5G availability to 75 percent within three years. This has to be followed up with low-band 5G expanded to 99 percent of all Americans and mid-band 5G to 88 percent within six years. It will also require that 85 percent of rural America gets access to low-band 5G within three years and 90 percent after six years.
While that all sounds well and good, the merger still requires the approval of the Department of Justice. While it was initially assumed the DOJ would go along with the FCC’s ruling, a new report from Bloomberg suggests that may not be the case. According to “people familiar with the matter,” there’s still a concern that this will harm competition, giving the DOJ reason to oppose the deal.
All that said, there isn’t a whole lot of proof to back up Bloomberg’s report—maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. At the end of the day, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. [The Verge, Android Police]
In Other News
- Huawei gets a temporary license for some activities in US: The banhammer came down hard on Huawei this weekend, with Google, Intel, Qualcomm, and more discontinuing business with the company after a block was put in place in the US. Now, the US Commerce Department has granted Huawei a temporary license to continue supporting some required infrastructure hardware and Android devices until August 19th. After that, if an agreement hasn’t been met, the lights go off again. [9to5Google]
- Google announces Glass 2: The new Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 (wow) is a newly-designed take on Glass with a new chip, better specs, improved design, and $999 price tag. Industry really is the new home for Google Glass. [Google Blog]
- A new Facebook scam tricks users into thinking they’re donating money to terrorist organizations: Using products like Facebook Messenger, scammers are hitting up unsuspecting users and forging pseudo-friendships and later ask for a small bit of money. The next day, the scammers call the users claiming to be law enforcement, telling the user they’re guilty of donating to terrorists. Then they tell the user they’re entitled to a lawyer—for a $1000 retainer. Jeeeez. [Gizmodo]
- Sony talks more about the PlayStation 5: No new details about the console itself were revealed, but it sounds like the PlayStation 4 will stick around for at least three more years to help keep the 5 afloat after release. Sony also mentioned (again) that the PS5 will have backward compatibility with PS4 titles. [Engadget]
- Instagram breach exposes data for millions of users: A database hosted by AWS was left without a password, allowing hackers to access the data of over 49 million influencers, celebrities, and brands. The data includes bio, profile picture, number of followers, verified location, email address, and password. [TechCrunch]
- Pandora gets a desktop app: The streaming music company released its first desktop app, which is now available on macOS with Windows “coming soon.” [Pandora Blog]
- USPS is going to test self-driving trucks: USPS has a two-week contract with TuSimple, a San Deigo-based self-driving truck company, to see how autonomously transporting trailers of mail will work. It’s going to use the trucks for five round trips, covering 1,000 miles each. The future starts now. [Engadget]
It was recently suggested that Pluto has liquid oceans found beneath layers of ice, but it was unclear how this was possible given the planet’s distance from the sun and ultra-frigid condition. Now, scientists have hypothesized on why these oceans aren’t completely frozen: layers of gas beneath the ice are working as insulators to keep the liquid from freezing solid. That is, of course, the ultra-simplified version of the research, as there’s a lot more to it than that. If you’re interested in the full details, the published paper is a fascinating read. [Gizmodo]