The Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday that it is shuttering a majority of its operations during the partial federal government shutdown, and companies that are waiting on FCC approval for license applications will be delayed indefinitely, both by the shutdown and the backlog that will inevitably result.

The 180-day clock on mergers also has been paused, putting the T-Mobile/Sprint merger on hold as well, said Laura Phillips, a telecommunications lawyer and partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Washington, D.C., and chair of the firm’s government and regulatory affairs practice group.