FCC Pauses Massive T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

The two companies have complementary spectrum holdings that would help it rollout a robust 5G network, which would spur increased investment and deployment by its larger competitors, T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint executive chairman Marcelo Claure told senators in June. Similarly, a business model titled "Build 9" that was also submitted September 5 needs further review, the FCC said.

"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's merger with Sprint has been cruising through the regulatory process with few hiccups thus far, but news from the FCC makes it sound like things are a little more complicated than they first appeared. "Additional time is necessary to allow for thorough staff and third-party review of newly submitted and anticipated modeling relied on by the Applicants". He says it appears to incorporate new logic, methodologies, facts, and assumptions, something that can't be reviewed quickly. Accordingly, the Commission and third parties will require additional time to review it. T-Mobile also provided extra economic modeling that responded in part to petitions to deny the deal. The FCC says that it didn't get Build 9 until September 5th.

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. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

The Commission has a strong interest in ensuring a full and complete record upon which to base its decision in this proceeding.

The 180-day clock, the FCC letter acknowledged, "will stay stopped until the Candidates dangle accomplished the file on which they intend to rely and an cheap time-frame has handed for.group and zero.33-social gathering assessment". The commission will then decide if the deadline needs to be extended.

Vanessa Coleman