The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) again paused its review into T-Mobile US’ proposed tie-up with Sprint, after receiving a stack of extra information on the plan

In a statement, the regulator said it had paused its informal 180-day review clock following the submission of  “significant additional information” by the operators. The FCC plans to pick up the process on 4 April, day 122 of the process.

The latest pause gives the public and other interested parties three additional weeks (until 28 March) to respond to the new information.

T-Mobile and Sprint provided more information in February on their network integration plans for 2019 to 2021 and additional details regarding the tie-up.

The $26 billion deal, which will shrink the US market to three major players if approved, has been under the regulator’s microscope since June 2018, but there have been numerous delays to the review process.

Both operators have, however, called the latest development a positive step, stating the pause allows the regulator “to fully review the merits of our merger”.

The deal still needs approval from the US Department of Justice as well as the FCC, but it did receive national security clearance in December 2018. The companies have also had to defend the deal in front of the US Congress, which expressed concerns about the impact to competition.