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What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for the Sprint / T-Mobile Merger?

Sprint / T-Mobile Merger (NWIDA)According to an article in theverge.com (link below), the FCC has wound down most of its operations. Should its lapsed funding not be restored, the commission says “all FCC activities will cease” as of mid-day Thursday, January 3rd, “other than those immediately necessary for the protection of life or property, performing other excepted activities, or those funded through a source other than lapsed appropriations.”

For electronics makers, the most immediate effect of the FCC suspending operations would be a pause in testing and approvals for new devices. But the move also impacts consumers, broadcasters, and businesses. However, even if operations are partially suspended, the FCC will retain employees to ensure that auctions (like those for 5G spectrum) aren’t disrupted.

While the FCC has laid everything out in its plan for an orderly shutdown, the commission says all of its duties (below) will be halted if its employees must be furloughed.

Consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines will not be answered

Consumer protection and local competition enforcement must cease.

Licensing services, including broadcast, wireless, and wireline, must cease.

Management of radio spectrum and the creation of new opportunities for competitive technologies and services for the American public must be suspended.

Equipment authorizations, including those bringing new electronic devices to American consumers, cannot be provided.

Of the 1,442 employees at the FCC, only 245 (~17 %) would remain working once the shutdown is put into place. Chairman Pai and the three FCC commissioners continue working.

So, while not explicitly stated in the article, there’s basically no one to advance the merger proceedings during the shutdown and it appears this could push back the final decision date. 

Read the entire article here.

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