FCC Pauses Merger Review “Shot-clock”, Reopens Comment Window on Sprint/T-Mobile Deal

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The FCC has released a public notice announcing that as of March 7, 2019, it has paused its informal 180-day merger review clock, and is seeking comment on recent submissions filed by Sprint and T-Mobile. The two wireless carriers initially filed applications on July 18, 2018. The FCC’s “shot-clock” has been paused two previous times in 2018 after the Applicants submitted additional economic modeling and engineering modeling. On February 21, 2019 and March 6, 2019, the Applicants filed significant additional information regarding their network integration plans for 2019-2021, an extension of their previously filed merger simulation analysis to cover the years 2019-2021, and additional information regarding their claims related to fixed wireless broadband services. The Applicants’ recent filings contain substantial new material and reach conclusions about the effects of the transaction that were not previously in the record. Accordingly, the Commission is yet again stopping its informal 180-day merger review clock and seeks comment on the Applicants’ extension of their economic analysis. Comments are due no later than Thursday, March 28, 2019. Absent new submissions by the Applicants or other outstanding issues, the informal 180-day merger review clock will resume on Thursday, April 4, 2019, at day 122.

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