Federal judge approves T-Mobile's $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint

FILE - This April 30, 2018, file photo shows a T-Mobile store in Herald Square, Monday April 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

A federal judge has approved T-Mobile's $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint, removing a major obstacle to a shakeup in the wireless industry.

After the deal closes, the number of major U.S. wireless companies would shrink from four to three.

T-Mobile says the deal would benefit consumers as it becomes a fiercer competitor to the larger Verizon and AT&T. But a group of state attorneys general tried to block the deal, arguing that having one fewer phone company would cost Americans billions of dollars in higher cellphone bills.

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The judge rejected those claims.

In November, the FCC formally approved the merger, saying that it believes the merger "will help close the digital divide and advance United States leadership in 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity."

T-Mobile and Sprint announced their deal in April 2018.

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