U.S. to take longer to review Sprint merger with T

FCC pauses 180-day shot clock on its review of T-Mobile-Sprint merger

This would allow third-parties to review it, as well as allowing for a thorough review of staff at the FCC.

"Considering the complexity and potential importance of these newly-provided and expected models, it is appropriate to stop the informal 180-day clock to allow time for their review", writes David Lawrence, the director of the T-Mobile / Sprint Transaction Task Force, and Donald Stockdale, the chief of Wireless Telecommunication Bureau.

T-Mobile got its paperwork in late, so it may know already that it will take longer for the FCC to make a decision.

The FCC said the extra time is needed to assess updated engineering and economic modeling information submitted in connection with the merger.

The merger is also under review by the US Department of Justice. The deal would shrink the number of major wireless carriers in the USA from four to three. "Although the applicants had previously provided a network engineering model as backup for certain network claims, you explained that since that time "the model has been extended, ' and that the newly-provided model 'completes" the prior work".

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The FCC said it paused the informal "shot clock" because of a large, complex submission on benefits that the proposed merger would create and a separate submission on network expansion. First, on September 5, 2018, the Applicants submitted a substantially revised network engineering model.

Second, the FCC requires more time to review "Build 9", a business model described by T-Mobile execs Mike Sievert and Peter Ewens in a meeting on August 29th.

"Finally, T-Mobile recently disclosed 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".

Both T-Mobile and Sprint have been takeover targets by other telecom providers in recent years, but government regulators have resisted the deals that would have reduced the "big four" wireless companies to a big three.

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