Here’s how this mega-merger could be good or bad for long-time customers.
The Federal Communications Commission has paused the 180-day clock on its review of the T-Mobile and Sprint merger to give it more time to examine the transaction.
The agency typically approves or denies mergers and other transactions within 180 days from when it officially is notified of the deal. T-Mobile, the nation’s No. 3 wireless provider, and Sprint, which is No. 4, announced the merger April 29.
A combined company, valued at $146 billion with more than 90 million retail customers, would be better situated to compete with industry leaders AT&T and Verizon, the companies say.
The two companies have complementary spectrum holdings that would help it rollout a robust 5G network, which would spur increased investment and deployment by its larger competitors, T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint executive chairman Marcelo Claure told senators in June.
The FCC said Tuesday it was pausing the review clock – currently 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.
More: T-Mobile and Sprint: What the merger means for you and your cellphone bill
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“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,” officials said in a letter to the two companies. “The Commission will decide whether to extend the deadline for reply comments after receiving the remainder of the Applicants’ modeling submissions.”
Consumer groups have argued that the merger could result in higher prices for wireless customers, one of the concerns the Justice Department is considering in its own review of the transaction.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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