Smartphones with Sprint logo are seen in front of a screen projection of the T-mobile logo, in this picture illustration. Photo: Reuters

INTERNATIONAL – T-Mobile US Chief Financial Officer said there is a possibility that its $26 billion (R369 bn) acquisition deal of Sprint will close as early as the first quarter of 2019.

T-Mobile, majority owned by Deutsche Telekom, agreed in April to buy wireless carrier Sprint and the deal was initially expected to close in the first half of 2019.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice are currently scrutinizing the deal.

“The only remaining thing that is happening is depositions with the DoJ, which have started and will be completed in a few weeks,” CFO J. Braxton Carter told the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference in Barcelona.

“At this point, it’s more pointing to the second quarter as more probable (but) it could still be the first quarter,” Carter said.

Both the agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The agreement between the third and fourth largest US wireless carriers in April was reached after four years of on-and-off talks that set the stage for the creation of a company that would compete more favourably with the top two wireless players, Verizon Communications and AT&T.

Their first round of merger talks had ended unsuccessfully in 2014 after the then Obama administration expressed antitrust concerns.

Carter said on Friday the companies have provided 25 million pages worth of documents to the DoJ, filed 600 pages public information statement with the FCC and held meetings with other US government departments.