T-Mobile has been hoping to close its merger with Sprint some time during the first half of this year. The companies are waiting for approval from the FCC before they can legally shake hands and sign the merger documents. But for the second time in four months, the review period for the deal has been put on hold. According to Fierce Wireless, the review started on June 18, 2018, but was paused on September 11th when both T-Mobile and Sprint filed new documents. The clock restarted at Day 55 of the 180 day review period on December 4th, but has stopped once again.
The reason for the current delay is the so-called Trump shutdown of the federal government. The president refuses to pass any funding bill until he gets the money from Congress to build his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. As a result, the FCC has been forced to close, which means that the agency has halted its review of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. Once the FCC receives funding to operate, a final decision on the $26.5 billion deal could take another three months to reach.
Thus far, the merger has been approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice.