Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
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FCC pauses assessment of Lunge and T-Mobile merger

FCC pauses assessment of Lunge and T-Mobile merger

This is largely because it needs more time to review a revised network engineering model from the two companies.

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 FCC sets a goal of completing merger reviews in 180 days, and can pause the countdown clock enumerating those days as it seeks clarifications or more information. Considering the complexity and potential importance of these newly-provided and expected models, it is appropriate to stop the informal 180-day clock to allow time for their review.

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.

Sprint and T-Mobile in April announced a deal to form a new company and push development of a super-fast 5G network.

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.

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.

The FCC sent a letter to the two companies Tuesday, explaining that "additional time is necessary to allow for thorough staff and third-party review of newly-submitted and anticipated modeling". Accordingly, the Commission and third parties will require additional time to review it. T-Mo and Sprint said that the new engineering model was the one that they wanted to use in support of their merger. The commission will then decide if the deadline needs to be extended.

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