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FCC says it needs more time to review Sprint, T-Mobile merger

The federal agency told the mobile carriers that it's hitting pause on the "shot clock" so it can review newly-submitted materials from the two carriers.

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday told Sprint and T-Mobile that it needs more time to review their planned merger. The regulatory agency said in a letter that it's hitting pause on the informal, 180-day "transaction shot clock" so it can review newly-submitted materials from the companies.

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After years of stop-and-go negotiations, Sprint and T-Mobile earlier this year finally announced an all-stock, merger and acquisition deal worth $26 billion. The deal would shrink the number of major wireless carriers in the US from four to three. The combined company has claimed, among other things, that it will have an edge over its competitors as it builds out a 5G network.

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The FCC on Tuesday was 55 days into its informal 180-day review process. However, it said it needs more time to review a revised network engineering model from two parties that is "significantly larger and more complex than the engineering submissions already in the record." Additionally, it needs more time to review a business model referred to as "Build 9," which provides the financial basis for the projected new network buildout.

The FCC only obtained both the new engineering model and Build 9 on September 5.

Also: The race to 5G: Inside the fight for the future of mobile TechRepublic

Additionally, T-Mobile recently said it plans to submit additional economic modeling.

"The clock will remain stopped until the Applicants have completed the record on which they intend to rely and a reasonable period of time has passed for.staff and third-party review," the FCC said.

The merger is also under review by the US Department of Justice.

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