The Federal Communications Commission is now accepting comments from the public about T-Mobile's proposed $26 billion acquisition of Sprint.
The companies said in April that they had agreed to merge, leaving the country with only three major wireless carriers. T-Mobile and Sprint combined have around 100 million wireless customers, while Verizon has roughly 116 million and AT&T has around 93 million.
T-Mobile and Sprint previously tried to join forces in 2014, when Sprint agreed to acquire T-Mobile for around $32 billion. The companies canceled their plans after federal regulators expressed antitrust concerns.
The wireless companies said in a recent regulatory filing that they plan to invest nearly $40 billion to roll out a nationwide 5G network, if the merger goes through. "By 2024, the New T-Mobile network will have approximately double the total capacity and triple the total 5G capacity of T-Mobile and Sprint combined, with 5G speeds four to six times what they could achieve on their own," the carriers told the FCC. "In the face of this challenge, Verizon and AT&T will need to respond with improved and accelerated 5G network investment and deployment to the betterment of all consumers and the country."
But some observers, including Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) have expressed concerns that increased consolidation will lead to higher prices for consumers.
The FCC's deadline for initial comments is August 27, and the agency will accept reply comments through October 9.