US FCC approves T-Mobile deal to buy budget provider Mint Mobile

FILE PHOTO: A T-Mobile logo is seen on the storefront door of a store in Manhattan

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday it will approve the T-Mobile US deal to buy Ka'ena Corp, the owner of budget service provider Mint Mobile, for up to $1.35 billion.

The FCC cited T-Mobile's voluntary agreement to implement a 60-day unlocking period for all Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile devices activated on the T-Mobile network before and after the closing.

The FCC said the agreement will make it easier for Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile customers to switch service providers. T-Mobile said after receiving regulatory approval that it now expects to close the deal on May 1.

T-Mobile announced the deal to buy the owner of Ryan Reynolds-backed budget service provider in March 2023, saying it would allow the company to tap a larger share of the pay-as-you-go customer base.

The agreement consists of 39% cash and 61% stock, with the final purchase price set to be decided by Ka'ena's performance during certain periods before and after the closing of the deal, T-Mobile said last year.

Mint is known for its marketing tactics that often feature part-owner Reynolds. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the "Deadpool" star left a voicemail for users informing them that the company had given them unlimited free data.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)