Top 4 US_Wireless_Carriers This chart shows the postpaid mobile subscribers of the top four wireless carriers in the United States. Photo: Statista / IBT

Earlier this week the Federal Communications Commission officially announced its approval of the proposed merger of T-Mobile US and Sprint under certain conditions. “The Commission found that the transaction will help close the digital divide and advance United States leadership in 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity,” the announcement reads, adding that the deal would “not harm competition” but rather “enhance competition in rural America and among quality-conscious consumers.”

Prior to this week’s announcement, the merger had been greenlit in a contentious vote by FCC commissioners last months, with FCC chairman Ajit Pai and his two Republican colleagues voting in favor of the approval and the two Democrats on the committee opposing the deal.

As the following chart shows, the merger will create three giant wireless carriers, each with more than 70 million postpaid mobile subscribers, a fact that many think will harm competition and drive up consumer prices. “Shrinking the number of national providers from four to three will hurt consumers, harm competition, and eliminate thousands of jobs,” Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in her official statement on the decision, concluding that “the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will end a golden age in wireless.”