T-Mobile and MetroPCS expect regulatory delays for merger

16 November 2012 | Kavit Majithia


T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS are expecting regulatory delays up to March 2013, as they attempt to push the merger through.

The companies submitted details of the deal to regulators on Friday, but Braxton Carter, finance director at MetroPCS told investors it is expecting to hold multiple rounds of discussions with the SEC.

The MetroPCS executive did also say he does not expect any issues.

MetroPCS does not anticipate the SEC will file initial comments until January, as both companies moved quickly to file documentations before the US thanksgiving holiday.

Speaking at a conference in Barcelona, Carter also said MetroPCS had held several discussions with numerous companies before the T-Mobile deal, and said he believed this was the right transaction.

The Financial Times cites Jim Alling, COO of T-Mobile USA, as claiming the best case for the deal would be regulatory approval in January and a shareholder meeting in February, but conceded the issue is likely to stretch to March. Alling added that there would be more consolidation in the future in the US market, and he expected the market to shrink from four operators to three.

Alling further said that the merged entity would emerge as the “clear value leader in a growing industry” through its aggressive 4G/LTE rollout.

A fresh round of consolidation in the US has been widely anticipated by analysts following the collapse of AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile last year. Sprint has also been linked with MetroPCS in the past and there is speculation that the carrier will look to acquire the combined T-Mobile USA/MetroPCS entity once the merger has been completed.

“The US is ripe for consolidation because of how it started out historically. You had this very fragmented market with lots of small players and even the big national players don’t always compete with each other in every single market, so there are positions of strength in different locations. It is always natural that those smaller players will get soaked up,” said Hartley.