US to take longer to mull Sprint merger with T-Mobile

By AFP
Published: September 12, 2018
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A sign for a T-Mobile store is seen in Manhattan, New York, US, April 30, 2018.
PHOTO: REUTERS

A sign for a T-Mobile store is seen in Manhattan, New York, US, April 30, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO: The US Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday told Sprint and T-Mobile it will take more time than first expected to review a proposed merger of the telecommunications firms.

“We are pausing the commission’s informal 180-day transaction shot clock in this proceeding,” the FCC said in a letter to the companies.

The FCC said the extra time is needed to assess updated engineering and economic modeling information submitted in connection with the merger.

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“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 letter stated.

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

The two firms had previously called off merger talks after failing to clinch mutually agreeable terms.

5G or fifth-generation wireless communications networks would enable services such as remote surgery or driverless cars and allow customers to experience video and virtual reality with greater ease.

T-Mobile is one of the biggest earners for its parent Deutsche Telekom of Germany.

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In 2017, it added 5.7 million net new customers compared with 8.2 million the previous year, but the hoped-for merger with Sprint fell through in November.

T-Mobile and Sprint — a subsidiary of Japan’s SoftBank — are at present the third and fourth largest US wireless operators, respectively.

Together they have about 131 million subscribers, virtually matching second-ranked AT&T and posing stiff competition to market leader Verizon Communications.

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