While T-Mobile might still be trying to merge with Dish Network, an approval for AT&T and DirecTV to join forces might come through as early as next week. The rapid progress behind the $48.5 billion merger will result in an OK from the FCC as by Friday according to sources inside the negotiation room.
If it seemed like this came out of nowhere to you, don't worry, because it sort of did. While the world was talking about T-Mobile-Dish and Charter-Time Warner in 2015, last May AT&T and DirecTV landed the deal and have been quietly hammering out the details. So far, nobody has really batted an eye to the deal like they did with both the T-Mobile-AT&T and the Comcast-Time Warner attempts. The Department of Justice has already cleared the deal, so now it just rests on the Federal Communications Commission to finalize everything.
The merger has been slowly moving through the FCC approval process, with the Commission collecting the necessary documents along the way. The FCC has also delayed their "timer" on the merger while awaiting to receive contracts and other information. AT&T went ahead and filed an extension with the SEC to push the break-up trigger back from two months ago to August, which still gives the companies a month to nail down an approval.
The DoJ's approval process took almost no time at all, with the Department closing the investigation without any stipulation or complaint. Aside from the FCC's go-ahead, both AT&T and DirecTV still require the DoJ's antitrust committee to analyze the deal and OK it as well. This should come during the same time of the FCC approval, so long as everything passes over there.
What does this mean for consumers? Right now, a whole lot of nothing. That is, until all the transitional logistics take place over the next year or so. From there, it could mean that a lot of different things, but AT&T has a roadmap in place for its ideas. In a statement, AT&T said that, "AT&T will use the merger synergies to expand its plans to build and enhance high-speed broadband service to 15 million customer locations, mostly in rural areas where AT&T does not provide high-speed broadband service today."