The Federal Communications Commission has officially restarted the clock it's using to time its decision on AT&T's acquisition bid for T-Mobile USA.
In a letter posted on the FCC site today, the organization's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau chief, Rick Kaplan, said that the clock is now ticking once again after a month-long hiatus. According to Kaplan, today marks the 83rd day in the FCC's review. The clock runs for a total of 180 days.
Last month, the FCC decided to halt the clock after it requested AT&T provide more information "to bolster its arguments concerning the size of the efficiencies made possible by the merger as weighted against the potential anticompetitive effects." The FCC now has the information it needs to continue to review the deal.
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There is a lot riding on the FCC's decision. When AT&T announced earlier this year that it intended to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, several lawmakers, along with competitor Sprint, spoke out against the deal, saying that it would create an anticompetitive environment in the mobile space.
For its part, AT&T has argued that it can deliver better service to customers with the deal. The company has especially highlighted its ability to offer LTE high-speed wireless service to 95 percent of the U.S. population if the deal is approved.
The FCC is not the only regulatory body deciding the deal's fate: the U.S. Department of Justice must also approve the merger. A final ruling is expected to be made early next year.