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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 01:51 PM ET, 04/24/2013

The Circuit: MetroPCS shareholders approve T-Mobile deal

MetroPCS shareholders approve T-Mobile deal: MetroPCS shareholders Wednesday approved a deal to merge with T-Mobile, the last hurdle the venture faced after winning approval from regulators earlier this year.

Combining the companies should give T-Mobile an advantage as it continues transitioning its network to the 4G LTE standard. Both companies have strong consumer bases with urban and price-conscious consumers, and MetroPCS’s prepaid plans are a nice addition to the no-contract plans T-Mobile recently announced.

MetroPCS shareholders will get $4.06 per share in cash plus holdings in 26 percent of the combined company. The rest will be owned by T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom.

Marketplace Fairness Act: The Senate on Wednesday took another step toward voting on the Marketplace Fairness Act, voting 72-22 to proceed to a vote on the bill.

Lawmakers voted 74-20 Monday to end debate on the bill, which would give states the power to collect taxes from online out-of-state transactions. The bill has broad support from state governments who see it as a way to collect additional revenue. Taxpayers technically are supposed to already be paying taxes on online purchases, but few do. Opponents say the bill puts an unnecessary burden on small online retailers and will effectively raise taxes for millions of consumers.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this week, likely Thursday.

The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the Marketplace Fairness Act will have “no impact on the federal budget” and will impose “no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.”

Conservative groups weigh in on FCC chairman pick: A group of think tanks and commentators have sent a letter urging President Obama to value “humility” above all other traits while considering picks for the next Federal Communications Commission chairman and Federal Trade Commission commissioner.

The letter, dated April 23, is signed by TechFreedom as well as Heritage Action, Americans for Tax Reform and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“We urge you to look foremost for humility as both a guiding principle and a personal characteristic of the candidates you consider,” the groups said in the letter.

Sprint reports earnings: Sprint Nextel said Wednesday that its net loss has decreased, but that it added just 12,000 subscribers in the past quarter. The carrier reported that it had a net loss of 415,000 subscribers, and warned that its numbers will look even grimmer headed into the next quarter.

Sprint reported a loss of $643 million, compared with a loss of $863 million in the same period last year.

The company said that it would shut down its Nextel network by the end of June. Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse said that the company’s deals with Clearwire and Japanese carrier SoftBank are still expected to close by July 1, but that the firm is assessing a competing proposal from Dish Network.

By  |  01:51 PM ET, 04/24/2013

 
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