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.