The Feds have approved the proposed merger between Sprint and Nextel, leaving one less hurdle to a full union between the two companies. While they also need to win the OK from some state government, the go-ahead from the Justice Department ensures that the merger should be wrapped up by its planned completion date this autumn. The combined company would be the third-largest carrier in the United States, after Cingular and Verizon Wireless, with around 40 million subscribers. We're also beginning to see more details about what the merger really means. According to NewsFactor.com, Sprint and Nextel will merge their networks by 2006. From the looks of it, though, Sprint seems to be the main beneficiary of the deal. Sprint will pick up Nextel's pioneering Direct Connect push-to-talk technology and Nextel's significant spectrum holdings. And I'm still a little curious how this merger will go down. Nextel's customers tend to be very brand loyal, and I'm sure they'll strongly resist any changes to their services or phones.