mobile phones

Thomas Hawk

The merger of Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA and its smaller rival, MetroPCS, has won regulatory approval and will likely move forward. But one analyst says even the combined company may not be large enough to compete with the biggest wireless carriers.

For a mobile phone company, having the biggest, fastest network is what counts, especially as more and more people use smartphones to stream video or listen to Pandora.

Morningstar analyst Allan Nichols says MetroPCS will give T-Mobile a much-needed boost of wireless spectrum as well as faster technology.

AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile want to merge. Boards of the mobile giants agreed to a $39 billion deal, announced Sunday, according to TechFlash reporter Greg Lamm:

The purchase, still subject to approval by regulatory boards, would create the largest mobile phone company in theU.S. If the deal closes, it would combine the nation's second- and fourth-largest wireless carriers, creating a company with nearly 130 million subscribers, and could lead to higher rates for consumers, experts said.

Lamm writes that until quite recently T-Mobile, the Seattle area's remaining major wireless firm, was considered to be in merger talks with Sprint Nextel.