News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday January 29, 2013.
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The United States Department of Justice led the charge of law enforcement agencies that have asked the FCC to halt its consideration of Softbank's attempted purchase of Sprint due to national security and public safety investigations. Softbank has not faced any accusations of wrongdoing and there's no known reason to suggest that the company's purchase of a majority stake in Sprint could lead to problems, but Sprint's position as a major communications company has prompted the government to review any potential issues that may arise. The DOJ, along with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, sent the following message to the FCC:
"DOJ, DHS, and FBI ("the Agencies") are currently reviewing this matter for any national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues but have not yet completed that effort. We therefore request that the Commission defer action until such time as the Agencies notify the Commission of the completion of their review and, based on the results of such review, request appropriate action by the Commission."
The DOJ's letter to the FCC marks the second time that an entity has asked the FCC pause its investigation. Dish recently requested that the commission temporarily cease consideration until issues related to its rival bid for Clearwire are addressed, and the FCC did not publicly respond. A request from three government agencies is likely to carry more wait and delay Softbank's plan of acquiring Sprint and investing more money into the company to challenge AT&T and Verizon.
UPDATE: Sprint sent us word that this is a routine procedure that the law enforcement agencies use to ensure security and safety. Sprint still expects the transaction to complete in mid 2013. source: FCC, via: Phonescoop
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.