The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday halted its review of a $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint after the companies submitted new information on their integration plans in March.
"When applicants have made substantial new submissions in support of their transactions after their initial applications, the Commission typically has sought additional comment from the public," the agency wrote in a filing. "The Commission therefore is stopping the clock as of today."
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Barring any new developments, the timeline resumes on April 4.
The White House has given its seal of approval to the transaction, FOX Business reported on Wednesday. But the Department of Justice is still reviewing the deal, which previously cleared a national security review.
Those decisions — which are necessary for the deal to proceed — won’t be made for at least another month or possibly longer, underscoring the complex and overlapping concerns over the $26 billion merger that the Trump administration has been grappling with for almost a year, according to sources.
The Trump administration has made the development of fifth-generation wireless networks, also known as 5G, both a national security and an economic objective. The development of such super-fast wireless networks are expected to be an economic boom adding potentially hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. gross domestic product.
Meanwhile, Chinese telecommunications. companies like Huawei, are looking to develop their own 5G networks. and have already been accused of stealing trade secrets from U.S. carriers. U.S. policy makers worry that China could infiltrate America’s 5G companies by selling them equipment that will be used for espionage.
China has denied it is looking to break into the 5G business for spying purposes, but sources tell FOX Business White House officials believe combining Sprint and T-Mobile will create a formidable adversary to prevent Chinese surveillance while the new company will better compete with the big U.S. big players in the telecom space, namely AT&T and Verizon.