T-Mobile gets federal approval to buy MetroPCS

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MetroPCS's shareholders must still vote to approve the deal. 

MetroPCS is a regional carrier that offers prepaid monthly service without long-term contracts. The merger is a major boost to T-Mobile, but will still leave it behind third-place Sprint, and well behind industry leaders Verizon and AT&T. 

“Our combined company will have the products, spectrum, scale and resources to shake up this industry and deliver an entirely new wireless experience,” John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, said in a statement.

The FCC and the Justice Department blocked AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile in late 2011. The regulators said that allowing the second largest carrier to buy the fourth largest would have stifled competition in the wireless marketplace and led to higher prices for consumers.

But the regulators concluded that allowing T-Mobile to buy MetroPCS would bolster T-Mobile's ability to compete with the industry giants.