The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped the informal 180-day transaction clock on the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger. The companies, who filed their merger plans back in June, largely in part for the need of additional time to review financials that T-Mobile got to the commission last week.
The 180-day transaction clock is an informal thing from the FCC and doesn’t necessarily reflect that the merger will be denied or approved. It is simply a window that the commission tries to stick with so all parties involved know roughly when a decision will be made on their proposed merger.
The reason for the pausing of the transaction clock comes down to three aspects which the FCC outlined:
- T-Mobile and Sprint has updated their networking engineering model which is now larger and more complex. The FCC needs to review this in more detail as it is substantially different than what was initially submitted.
- Business models on who T-Mobile would provide the financial basis for the projected new network buildout was not provided until September 5th and the FCC has not had time to look at it.
- The commission is waiting on additional economic modeling from T-Mobile.
The pausing of the review almost certainly means that the merger between the two carriers will not happen in 2018. It is unclear when the pause will stop but given that the FCC just got key financial information and is waiting on more from T-Mobile, it could be several weeks before things start up again.