A milestone in the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint has taken place.
The FCC this week kicked off its 180-day shot clock for reviewing the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. While the FCC will work to complete its review of the merger in this timeframe, it’s not necessarily required to. The FCC can also pause the clock when it feels it’s necessary.
Along with the start of its 180-day shot clock, the FCC this week began taking public comments regarding the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. The FCC says that if you’d like to file a petition to deny the merger, your deadline to file is August 27th. Then T-Mobile, Sprint, and others that support the merger can file oppositions to the petitions through September 17th. The final round of replies is due on October 9th.
T-Mobile and Sprint expect their merger to close no later than the first half of 2019. In their support of the $26.5 billion deal, the two companies say they’ll be able to deploy a broad 5G network faster than either carrier could on its own and that AT&T, Verizon, Charter, Comcast, and others will be forced to make investments to compete.
T-Mo and Sprint also claim that their merger will be good for job growth, with plans for $40 billion in investments in its network and business in the first three years. T-Mobile points to its acquisition of MetroPCS, saying that three times the number of people now work at Metro than when T-Mobile acquired the prepaid provider in 2013.
Those that oppose the T-Mobile-Sprint merger have concerns that it would reduce competition by dropping the number of major U.S. carriers from 4 to 3. There are also concerns that the merger could have a negative effect on competition in the prepaid market since T-Mobile owns MetroPCS and Sprint owns Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Job loss is another concern of the merger’s opponents, and U.S. lawmakers recently said that the merger needs close scrutiny due to Sprint and SoftBank’s ties to Huawei.