FCC Pauses Massive T-Mobile/Sprint Merger


The FCC wrote a letter to Sprint and T-Mobile on Tuesday, stating that it was pausing the informal 180-day clock for reviewing mergers, as it needs more time to review the proposed deal.

The FCC says the clock will remain paused until the companies submit all necessary information and the commission can then review that information.

So, in essence, TMUS recently made a decision to offer up a bunch more material in support of the merger and the FCC needs more time to review it. "The additional review time is common to FCC merger reviews and we recently supplied a large amount of data to the FCC that they want sufficient time to assess".

Sprint and T-Mobile first discussed a merger in 2014 but scrapped it because of concerns about regulatory challenges from the Obama administration.

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.

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"Further, in an August 29, 2018 exparte meeting, T-Mobile executives Mike Sievert and Peter Ewens described T-Mobile's reliance on a business model, titled Build 9, ' which apparently provides the financial basis for the projected new network buildout".

"On September 5, 2018, the applicants submitted a substantially revised network engineering model", Lawrence said. The new model is significantly larger and more complex than the old one, the FCC explains, and it incorporates new logic, methodologies, facts, and assumptions that are central to the merger's claimed network benefits.

The FCC is also awaiting the submission of "additional economic modeling" supporting the merger from T-Mobile. The FCC says that it didn't get Build 9 until September 5th.

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.