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FCC Initiates Review of AT&T, T-Mobile MegaDeal FCC Initiates Review of AT&T, T-Mobile MegaDeal

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FCC Initiates Review of AT&T, T-Mobile MegaDeal

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21:  Executives at AT&T attend a news conference where it was announced that AT&T Inc. will be buying its wireless rival T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG for $39 billion in cash and stock on March 21, 2011 in New York City. The deal, which will be scrutinized by U.S. regulators, would create the nation's largest wireless carrier if approved. The deal would likely result in domestic job cuts. T-Mobile USA employs about 38,000 people while AT&T employs an estimated 267,000 people.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The FCC's review of AT&T's $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile officially kicked off Thursday when the agency announced that it has opened a docket for examining the transaction.

Senior agency officials, speaking on background to reporters, said the companies are expected to formally submit their applications for license transfers later this month. That would be followed by the commission's announcement of a public comment round.

The agency would then begin a 180-day "shot clock" for reviewing the deal, but the clock is merely a guideline and not a deadline, and can be stopped periodically. While AT&T has said it anticipates that the regulatory review could extend into early 2012, the officials said the timetable remains unclear.

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