FCC Leans Toward Disapproving AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

Lora Bentley

AT&T and T-Mobile are likely out of luck. BusinessWeek reported Wednesday the Federal Communications Commission appears to have decided the combination of the two companies is not in the best interest of consumers.

 

The second largest wireless provider in the U.S. announced its intention to acquire T-Mobile America for $39 billion in March. Despite strong opposition from legislators, competitors and consumer interest groups, AT&T made its case to Congress and to Department of Justice antitrust officials that the combination would do more for the market as a whole than it would take away.

 

In part, AT&T argued the combined company would be better equipped to expand broadband infrastructure to make high-speed Internet access more readily available in areas of the country where access is currently spotty. The company also argued that the emergence of several small regional carriers would keep competition in the wireless market healthy.

 

The DoJ didn't buy the arguments, announcing in September that it would not approve the acquisition. Now the FCC is adding its weight to the disapproval. According to BusinessWeek, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recommended that an agency judge hold a hearing on the proposal. The move comes after FCC investigators determined the merger would stifle competition and result in wireless market job losses.

 

AT&T says it is "reviewing all its options."



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