CNN Business  — 

The multibillion-dollar merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is moving closer.

The wireless operators have received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government panel that vets certain deals involving foreign investors, T-Mobile (TMUS) said in a statement late Monday.

The company added that the US Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Defense have withdrawn an earlier request to delay the deal.

“We are pleased to achieve both of these important milestones in the journey to build the New T-Mobile,” CEO John Legere said in a statement. But he added that the companies still need approval from other regulators before the deal can close.

If T-Mobile and Sprint (S) merge as planned in the first half of next year, the number of wireless providers in the United States will drop from four to three, with the new company competing against Verizon (VZ) and CNN’s parent company, AT&T (T).

T-Mobile and Sprint have vowed to offer lower prices if they are allowed to merge. They argue that joining forces would also help increase competition in the industry and that they need one another to introduce 5G services.