Cingular got the final federal OK to buy AT&T Wireless (AWE) .
Echoing the Justice Department's consent Monday, the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday granted approval of the $41 billion buyout under the condition that Cingular divest itself of some network assets.
With the antitrust and regulatory approvals now in place, Cingular, a joint venture of
, is expected to close the deal as early as this week. BellSouth executives said on a conference call Monday that they thought they could close the transaction a day or two after regulatory approval.
The combined company will have about 47 million subscribers. That will make it the largest cell-phone service provider in the nation, just ahead of the 40 million customers with
, a joint venture of
The FCC's conditions require Cingular to divest properties in 22 communities in states including Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, Connecticut, Mississippi and Missouri.
On Monday, antitrust officials approved of the deal but required Cingular to sell overlapping AT&T Wireless assets in 13 cities in 11 states. The divestitures will give consumers other service providers to choose from in markets that would otherwise be dominated by the combined company.