Sprint and T-Mobile will have to wait longer to merge

A sign for a T Mobile store is seen in Manhattan New York US

A sign for a T Mobile store is seen in Manhattan New York US

Referring to an "informal shot clock" of 180 days in which to assess the pros and cons of T-Mobile US and Sprint permanently hooking up, the FCC announced in a letter that it is being paused.

The FCC said Tuesday it was pausing the review clock - now at Day 55 - because the two companies had submitted new information including a "substantially revised" network engineering model, a new business model and additional economic modeling.

The newly-provided network engineering model is significantly larger and more complex than the engineering submissions already in the record.

The FCC says the clock will remain paused until the companies submit all necessary information and the commission can then review that information.

T-Mobile's merger with Sprint has been cruising through the regulatory process with few hiccups thus far, but news from the FCC makes it sound like things are a little more complicated than they first appeared. The companies announced the proposed deal in April, capping four years of on-and-off talks between the third- and fourth-largest US wireless carriers.

Until we see what T-Mobile has submitted, we won't know if this marks a minor revision or a wholesale change to T-Mobile's plans that could force a particularly thorough review. T-Mo and Sprint said that the new engineering model was the one that they wanted to use in support of their merger.

What just happened? The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint will take a bit longer to get the green light from the FCC. Similarly, a business model titled "Build 9" that was also submitted September 5 needs further review, the FCC said.

The agency said it would also need time to review additional economic modeling that T-Mobile said it would submit. On top of that, it said, it also requires some extra time to go over a business model named "Build 9", which will provide the financial basis for the projected new network buildout.