Investors reading tea leaves looking for hopeful signs around a potential merger of Sprint (S +0.4%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +0.4%) can take away a positive from the FCC's approval today of its finding that the wireless market has "effective competition."
A finding of an uncompetitive market might have presented a hurdle to combining the country's No. 3 and No. 4 carriers in order to present a tougher threat to top dogs AT&T (T -0.8%) and Verizon (VZ -0.8%).
But "most reasonable people see a fiercely competitive marketplace," says FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, pointing to aggressive price promotions as a factor, after the agency voted 3-2 to approve the finding.
The FCC put the brakes on a Sprint/T-Mobile combination in 2014, along with the Justice Department.
Dissenter Mignon Clyburn said the new report "takes a decidedly myopic view of the ecosystem, and instead focuses only on 'competition in the provision of mobile wireless services.' This is like a doctor looking at one organ and pronouncing a patient fit as a fiddle."
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