U.S. FCC pauses review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger

Alfred Osborne
September 15, 2018

The clock will remain paused until T-Mobile and Sprint are finished submitting documents and information about the merger, and until the commissioners feel they have had enough time to review the record.

A business model detailing how the combined firm would provide "financial basis for the projected new network buildup" wasn't submitted until September 5.

The third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers in the U.S agreed in April to merge in a$26 billion deal and were given a 180-day period by the FCC for the merger to be reviewed.

Bellevue-based T-Mobile and Sprint say consumers will benefit from a faster network even as their deal reduces from four to three the number of national competitors in the US wireless market. "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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"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".

Until we see what T-Mobile has submitted, we won't know if this marks a minor revision or a wholesale change to T-Mobile's plans that could force a particularly thorough review. 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. "We are confident that this transaction is pro-competitive, good for the country and good for American consumers", the company said.

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.

The agency said it would also need time to review additional economic modeling that T-Mobile said it would submit. The Commission did not receive Build 9, and third parties did not have access to it, until September 5.

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