Nothing is stopping the merger train T-Mobile and Sprint started earlier this year, the two wireless carriers said in a new filing with the Federal Communications Commision. In response to a request for the agency's consolidation review proceedings to be halted until select entities expand on their public interest statements related to the proposed deal, the third- and fourth-largest network operator in the United States said they followed the federal regulations to the letter when filing for their tie-up attempt, arguing the FCC should not give in to any pause demands.
A number of wireless worker unions and other entities in the industry on Friday moved to stop the FCC's merger review so as to be given enough time to elaborate on their concerns related to the thereof, particularly in regards to spectrum hoarding. Sprint and T-Mobile said the information about their spectrum portfolios pertaining to the consolidation attempt have been publicly disclosed on June 18, meaning the parties objecting to the speed of recent developments had some two months to review them. The opposing entities — including the omnipresent Communications Workers of America who previously expressed a degree of skepticism about the deal — said the fact that the disclosure was given in the form of a PDF file with no total spectrum sums being provided for individual markets left them having to calculate the spectrum aggregation for over 3,200 territories on their own, an effort that they described as "time-consuming."
The FCC hasn't yet ruled on the matter but is expected to do so in the coming weeks. Sprint and T-Mobile are still sticking with their original roadmap of having the merger approved in the first half of 2019 but those proceedings are largely out of their hands. The upcoming millimeter-wave spectrum auction set to take place in November will also be a complicated affair for the two companies due to antitrust laws that limit their communication regarding the bidding process. Both firms are still pursuing 5G buildouts independently but the longer the merger review process drags on, the bigger the risk they end up with redundant infrastructure and related solutions, assuming the consolidation ends up being approved, which is an outcome that many industry analysts say has a 50-50 chance of happening.