FCC delays review of T-Mobile–Sprint merger

FCC delays review of T-Mobile–Sprint merger
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants more time to review the proposed T-Mobile–Sprint merger.

The agency announced Tuesday that it was pausing its informal 180-day “shot clock” to review the transaction in order to give its staff more time to review recent filings from the two companies.

“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 commission wrote in a letter to the companies.

“We appreciate that the FCC is taking the time necessary to fully understand the merits of the T-Mobile and Sprint merger,” Sprint and T-Mobile said in a joint statement. “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. We are confident that this transaction is pro-competitive, good for the country and good for American consumers, and we look forward to continuing to work with the FCC as they evaluate our plans.”

A spokeswoman for the FCC did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

The move itself is not a major obstacle for the merger, which needs both the FCC and the Justice Department’s approval. But the deal has generated significant opposition from consumer groups, and some observers are skeptical that regulators will allow two competitors in a highly concentrated market to combine.