Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

FCC will take extra time to review T-Mobile, Sprint merger

FCC will take extra time to review T-Mobile, Sprint merger

The FCC is putting a hold to the 180-day comment period on the proposed merger between national wireless carriers Sprint and T-Mobile to review new documents submitted in support for the transaction.

The FCC sent a letter to the two companies Tuesday, explaining that "additional time is necessary to allow for thorough staff and third-party review of newly-submitted and anticipated modeling".

"We are pausing the commission's informal 180-day transaction shot clock in this proceeding", the FCC said in a letter to the companies. The only stated reason is the submission of new material from TMUS that significantly alters the criteria by which the FCC will make its assessment, thus requiring more time.

T-Mobile, the fastest-growing of the four major USA wireless companies thanks to low prices and features such as free video, needs approval from the FCC and Justice Department for the Sprint deal.

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T-Mobile and Sprint - a subsidiary of Japan's SoftBank - are at present the third and fourth largest USA wireless operators, respectively. First, on September 5, 2018, the Applicants submitted a substantially revised network engineering model.

The $26 billion deal between the two U.S. wireless carriers, which would shrink the wireless market to three big players from four, is also being reviewed by the U.S. Justice Department. T-Mobile also provided extra economic modeling that responded in part to petitions to deny the deal.

T-Mobile said in a statement that it looked forward to working with the FCC in the review process. "We are confident that this transaction is pro-competitive, good for the country and good for American consumers", the company said. Additionally, it needs more time to review a business model referred to as "Build 9", which provides the financial basis for the projected new network buildout. The FCC says that it didn't get Build 9 until September 5th.

Back in June, T-Mobile and Sprint officially filed their merger plans with the FCC.

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