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FCC pauses review of Sprint and T-Mobile merger

Government stops the "shot clock" on the merger's review period, in order to take a look at modeling.

T-Mobile's John Legere



The Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to Sprint and T-Mobile Tuesday informing the carriers that it's pausing the current review of their merger.

"Today we are pausing the Commission's informal 180-day transaction shot clock in this proceeding. Additional time is necessary to allow for thorough staff and third-party review of newly submitted and anticipated modeling relied on by the Applicants," said the letter, signed by David B. Lawrence, head of the T-Mobile/Sprint Transaction Task Force, and Donald Stockdale Chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

The new facts requiring review include a revised network engineering model submitted by the parties in early September, the mentioning in a meeting of a T-Mobile business model called "Build 9," which was not reviewed by the FCC until recently and T-Mobile's recent disclosure that it "intends to submit additional economic modeling in support of the Applications, beyond that strictly responsive to the various economic analyses in the Petitions to Deny."

The 180-day clock, the FCC letter said, "will remain stopped until the Applicants have completed the record on which they intend to rely and a reasonable period of time has passed for.staff and third-party review. The Commission will decide whether to extend the deadline for reply comments after receiving the remainder of the Applicants' modeling submissions."

Sprint and T-Mobile announced in April that they had agreed to an all-stock merger worth $26 billion, with T-Mobile CEO John Legere to assume leadership of the combined company, to be called "New T-Mobile." The companies submitted their formal merger request to the FCC in June, in which they vowed to "deliver a robust, nationwide world-class 5G network and services sooner than otherwise possible."