FCC says it needs more time to review T-Mobile/Sprint merger, pauses 180-day clock

T-Mobile and Sprint officially filed their merger plans with the FCC back in June. While the FCC typically makes a determination within six months, the commission informed the two carriers today that it is pressing pause on the “180-day transaction shot clock.”

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Along with its FCC filing, T-Mobile and Sprint previously created a new website to promote the benefits of the merger. However, at 55 days into the FCC process, the commission has deemed it necessary to freeze the timeline to allow more time for the review.

Today we are pausing the Commission’s informal 180-day transaction shot clock in this proceeding. Additional time is necessary to allow for thorough staff and third-party review of newly-submitted and anticipated modeling relied on by the Applicants.

The FCC outlined three aspects that are causing the need for an extended review period.

First, T-Mobile and Sprint originally detailed a network engineering model to the FCC as a backup plan, but it has since been “extended” to become the “engineering model on which they rely in support of this transaction.” The new model will set the FCC back as it is “larger and more complex” than the original submission.

Second, a business model called “Build 9” which describes how the new T-Mobile would provide “the financial basis for the projected new network buildout” wasn’t given to the FCC until September 5th.

Lastly, the commission is waiting on T-Mobile to “submit additional economic modeling” that supports the merger.

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.

Before this delay, a decision could have happened before 2019. However, now it’s looking more certain that a result won’t be delivered until sometime next year.

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