The Federal Communications Commission has approved the merger of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.
The deal still has to be approved by MetroPCS shareholders during an April 12 meeting.
“With today’s approval, America’s mobile market continues to strengthen, moving toward robust
competition and revitalized competitors," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.
The carriers announced the proposed deal in October, saying a merger would create a stronger carrier focused on value.
"Our combined company will have the products, spectrum, scale and resources to shake up this industry and deliver an entirely new wireless experience," T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said Tuesday.
T-Mobile, with 33.4 million mobile customers, is the nation's fourth-largest cellphone company; MetroPCS is the fifth with 8.9 million customers.
The combined company will still be in the No. 4 position behind Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.
Under the terms of the agreement, MetroPCS shareholders will receive $1.5 billion in cash and 26% ownership in the company, which will have the T-Mobile name. Deutsche Telekom AG, the Germany company that owns Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile, will receive a 74% stake. MetroPCS is based in Dallas.