commissioners granted regulatory approval to the merger of Sprint and Nextel Communications to form the third-largest nationwide wireless carrier.
With the approval, all spectrum licenses held by Nextel will be transferred to Sprint. The merged company will not have a dominant position in any market, so the commission opted not to require any divestitures.
However, the regulatory approval was contingent upon the merged company spinning off Sprint's local wireline holdings with an “equitable debt and asset allocation” and meeting benchmarks for providing broadband wireless services using the company's vast spectrum holdings in the 2.5 GHz band.
The 2.5 GHz conditions require Sprint Nextel to serve 15 million customers with wireless broadband services using the spectrum within four years. Two years later, the merged company will be required to serve 30 million broadband customers using the 2.5 GHz airwaves.