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FCC Conditionally Clears Cingular Acquisition Of AT&T Wireless

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Communications Commission gave its approval Tuesday to Cingular Wireless LLC's $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless Services Inc., completing the federal regulatory blessing necessary for creation of the country's largest cell phone company.

The move follows Monday's announcement that Justice Department antitrust regulators approved the deal. Both agencies attached conditions to ensure there is adequate competition in different markets.

``We believe our conditions, combined with the benefits to the consumer experience brought by Cingular's new scale and scope, will ensure the public interest is served by this transaction,'' said FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

The two Democrats on the five-member commission dissented in part to the merger, saying they're concerned the loss of AT&T Wireless could have a negative impact on the wireline market.

``In many major in-region markets, Cingular now will have almost half of the mobile wireless market share. And in allowing the acquisition of AT&T Wireless, we permanently remove an independent source of competition to Cingular, SBC and BellSouth,'' Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said.

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