Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Sprint and T-Mobile merger just got hit with a delay

FCC pauses 180-day shot clock on its review of T-Mobile-Sprint merger T-Mobile Sprint merger review delayed by FCC
Cecil Davis | 15 September, 2018, 01:48

The third- and fourth-largest wireless U.S. service providers submitted their Public Interest Statement to the FCC in June, but the commission has now said it is pausing the informal 180-day "transaction shot clock", which is currently at day 56, following recent submissions related to a revised network engineering model.

As the FCC's "shot clock" hit day 55, the FCC said, "additional time is necessary to allow for thorough staff and third-party review of newly submitted and anticipated modeling". "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".

Shares of T-Mobile were up 0.2% after hours, while Sprint shares were down 0.5%.

A business model detailing how the combined firm would provide "financial basis for the projected new network buildup" wasn't submitted until September 5. T-Mo and Sprint said that the new engineering model was the one that they wanted to use in support of their merger.

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The merger is also under review by the US Department of Justice. Moreover, the Applicants asserted that this is now the "engineering model on which they rely in support of this transaction".

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. He says it appears to incorporate new logic, methodologies, facts, and assumptions, something that can't be reviewed quickly. The Commission did not receive Build 9, and third parties did not have access to it, until September 5.

What just happened? The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint will take a bit longer to get the green light from the FCC. Build 9 therefore requires further review. The Commission will decide whether to extend the deadline for reply comments after receiving the remainder of the Applicants' modelling submissions.