FCC pauses review of T-Mobile's Sprint deal

Doris Richards
September 14, 2018

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.

The Federal Communications Commission says it needs more time to review a proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.

The proposed deal is complex and very high-profile, considering that it involves subsidiaries of two worldwide corporations, Deutsche Telekom of Germany and Softbank of Japan, and also because of its direct impact on USA households. The companies had tried to merge twice in the past, but regulators and internal disagreements prevented it from happening.

"The clock will remain stopped until the applicants have completed the record on which they intend to rely and a reasonable period of time has passed for staff and third-party review", the FCC said in a letter to officials at T-Mobile and Sprint which was posted on the agency's website.

The FCC said Tuesday it was pausing the review clock - now at Day 55 - because the two companies had submitted new information including a "substantially revised" network engineering model, a new business model and additional economic modeling.

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. 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 Commission did not receive Build 9, and third parties did not have access to it, until September 5.

"The additional review time is common to FCC merger reviews", the company said in a statement. "We are confident that this transaction is pro-competitive, good for the country and good for American consumers", the company said.

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