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The FCC signaled in May that it would approve the deal, but it didn't take a formal vote. This week, the three Republicans on the FCC officially voted in favor of the merger, while the two Democrats voted against it. The Justice Department had given its blessing for the deal back in July, on the condition that a fourth national competitor would be created to replace Sprint.

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The linchpin of the deal is Dish Network. As part of a settlement with the Justice Department, the satellite TV provider would be positioned as the fourth nationwide wireless carrier. The deal preserves the government's goal of having four competitors, though it's unclear how wide-ranging the Dish service will be. But the companies face a lawsuit from several state attorneys general who are trying to block the deal. The states argue that the merger should be stopped because it'll harm competition and increase prices.

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T-Mobile said it wouldn't proceed with closing the deal until it settled the concerns of the state attorneys general. The T-Mobile merger, announced more than a year ago, could bring about a seismic shift in the mobile world. Dish's emergence as a new wireless player would consumers another potential alternative for service -- it vows to cover 70 percent of the US with 5G by T-Mobile and Sprint's combined assets could jump-start its 5G ambitions, pushing the industry further into the next-generation technology.

They've also said they'll lock in prices for at least three years.

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The agreement comes at a time when the US carriers are bending over backward to win your business, with offers like unlimited data and freebies, such as access to Netflix. Sprint offers Hulu , Tidal and Amazon Prime with its priciest unlimited plan. Those competitive pressures have driven T-Mobile and Sprint together. And though executives from both companies promise lower prices and better service, consumer groups and analysts are skeptical. Worried about how this might affect you? CNET breaks down everything you need to know about this mega mobile merger.

T-Mobile and Sprint have long courted each other. A merger would create a stronger competitor. Actually, T-Mobile and Sprint tried twice before.

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In , Sprint parent SoftBank floated the idea of a deal with T-Mobile, but regulators and the White House were keen on keeping four national competitors. The current administration and the FCC are more open to deals, which is why both sides got close to a deal in The deal fell apart in late when SoftBank and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom couldn't agree on how much control each side would get.

Since the deal was announced more than a year ago, analyst opinions on whether the merger would get regulatory approval hovered around But the states' lawsuit could throw a big monkey wrench into whether the deal actually gets consummated.

Feds sign off on $26 billion T-Mobile Sprint merger. Now what?

Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, filed or joined a multistate lawsuit earlier this year, claiming the merger would "deprive consumers of the benefits of competition and drive up prices for cellphone services. What's more, a court also has to sign off on the settlement the Department of Justice worked out with T-Mobile and Sprint.

It's complicated, but the DOJ actually filed a complaint to stop the merger, arguing the deal would violate antitrust law by eliminating a competitor. But the proposed settlement announced at the same time is supposed to mitigate those concerns.

The Justice Department is positioning Dish as a potential fourth carrier in the wake of the merger. Also as part of the deal, Dish would get a seven-year wholesale agreement to sell T-Mobile wireless service under the Dish brand while it builds out its own 5G network. T-Mobile and Dish will also have a deal to potentially lease Dish's unused Mhz spectrum for use in its own 5G roll out.

Dish already owns billions of dollars' worth of its own spectrum, but the company has yet to build its own wireless network. Some have accused the company of hoarding valuable wireless spectrum, but it has yet to make a major announcement about the plans for its spectrum. Prior to this deal, the company had until March to utilize the airwaves or risk losing its licenses. But as part of the agreement, the company gets an extension to June , when it pledges to have a 5G network of its own that'll cover 70 percent of the US population.

Purchasing the divested prepaid businesses, getting additional airwaves and adding the ability to begin offering service on the T-Mobile network while it builds its own would make it easier and more cost-effective for Dish to finally become a wireless competitor. High on style and technology, the Volvo XC90 is an incredibly satisfying everyday crossover. The 5G wireless revolution, explained The next-generation wireless technology is expected to change your life.

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