The FCC has tapped a top Justice Department antitrust division lawyer, David Lawrence, to head the team reviewing the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger.
Lawrence has been counsel to assistant attorney general and antitrust chief Makan Delrahim.
“With his wide range of experience and expertise, David is well-positioned to ensure that we conduct a thorough investigation into whether approval of this transaction would be in the public interest," said FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who made the pick.
The announcement came only a couple of hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the deal, creatively titled: "Game of Phones: Examining the Competitive Impact of the T-Mobile-Sprint Transaction."
Lawrence has been focusing on telecom and transportation at DOJ.
T-Mobile and Sprint filed the proposed deal with the FCC June 18, but at press time the FCC has yet to start its informal shot clock on vetting the deal--an FCC spokesperson signaled had been checking to make sure all the deal paperwork was in order first. Lawrence's appointment should signal that clock will start shortly.