The Federal Communications Commission stopped an informal “shot clock” for its review of AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile on Wednesday to allow for new information to be submitted to the agency.
The agency needs more time to collect information about new models that AT&T is using to bolster its arguments, Rick Kaplan, chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, said in a letter to AT&T lawyers at Arnold & Porter.
The 180-day shot clock is a self-imposed deadline designed to keep merger reviews moving along at the FCC.
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“We believe this is necessary to allow sufficient time not only for the commission to evaluate and test this new evidence, but also for third parties to have an opportunity to provide feedback to the Commission on the contents and construction of the yet-unseen models,” Kaplan wrote.
AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris said the models are based on new evidence of the potential benefits of the $39 billion deal.
“AT&T has developed additional economic evidence that further confirms the tremendous efficiencies and consumer benefits resulting from this transaction,” Balmoris said in an e-mail statement. “Because this information, which we will submit next week, is detailed, we are not surprised that the FCC will take the time it needs to thoroughly understand our submission.”
Despite the delay, Balmoris said he expects the overall review to stay on schedule. The FCC expects to receive the additional information from AT&T on Monday, after which it will restart the clock.