Citing AT&T’s disclosure that it is now using “new models” to justify its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, FCC Wireless Bureau Chief Rick Kaplan confirmed on Wednesday that the FCC had stopped its informal 180-day “shot clock” for approval of the $39 billion deal. The bureau’s decision will delay regulatory review of the transaction’s competitive and public interest impacts. Many experts had predicted that completion of the review would take one year from the date of the March AT&T/TMobile merger announcement. Writing to AT&T, Kaplan noted that, since the parties filed their merger application with the agency, AT&T had “developed new models on which it now relies . . . to bolster its arguments concerning the size of the efficiencies made possible by the merger.” Kaplan further stated that the FCC first learned of these models during an ex parte meeting on July 13. Stopping the review clock “to allow sufficient time . . . for the Commission to evaluate and test this new evidence,” Kaplan said the agency would restart the clock “once the new evidence has been provided to us in a format and with sufficient explanation and back-up information to enable us and third parties . . . to adequately evaluate it.” News of the bureau’s action came as Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the chairman of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, wrote to both the FCC and the Justice Department (DOJ) to recommend blockage of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, which he claimed would be “highly dangerous to competition and consumers.” In a letter delivered on Wednesday, Kohl argued that, because the deal would reduce the national mobile phone market from four major carriers to three, and would give two companies—AT&T and Verizon---control of 80% of the U.S. wireless sector, the merger would “pose a substantial danger to consumers of higher cell phone bills and fewer choices for service at exactly the wrong time—when consumers are relying more and more every day on their wireless phone services.” As such, Kohl advised that AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA “is contrary to antitrust law and should be enjoined.” Sprint-Nextel, a key merger opponent, praised Kohl for offering “an extremely compelling review of the significant risks associated with the pending AT&T takeover of T-Mobile.” An AT&T spokesman, however, countered that Kohl’s opinion “is inconsistent with antitrust law, is shared by few others, and ignores the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction.”