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AT&T is looking to gain a GSM monopoly by defeating the DOJ and acquiring T-Mobile

AT&T's lawyers gripe about material in the DOJ complaint being "unidentified". This makes little sense for two reasons. First, most of the material quoted comes from AT&T and T-Mobile, so they should be aware of it. Second, it took us less than a minute in Google to spot the mystery material. Have AT&T's lawyers ever heard of a search engine?
AT&T lawyers' newspeak: less competition is morebetter

(This article contains mild editorial commentary/analysis.)

American Telephone and Telegraph Company once held a monopoly grip on wired phone service in the U.S.  In 1982, after eight years in court, the U.S. Department of Justice broke up the company into seven "Baby Bells".  

Since then, the AT&T of yore has slowly been coming back together. Six of those seven Baby Bells have merged into two single companies -- AT&T, Inc. (T) (Ameritech+BellSouth+ Pacific Telesis+Southwestern Bell) and Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) (NYNEX+Bell Atlantic).  And with an acquisition of the fourth largest wireless service provider in the U.S. -- Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA -- pending, AT&T is poised to gain a monopoly on 3G GSM service in the U.S. and the top spot in the U.S. market.  Only one thing is standing in the way of AT&T's monopoly plans -- the U.S. Department of Justice.

I. Newspeak: Less Choice, Better for Consumer

AT&T is fighting hard to save the deal that would have granted it a monopoly.  On Friday it filed its response to the DOJ lawsuit.  

The full 27-page response can be found here.

In the filing AT&T's basic tact is to claim that the U.S. DOJ hasn't proven that less choice in the market would hurt competition.  The lawyers write [pg. 2]:

The Complaint largely ignores the significant competition from established providers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint, innovative upstarts such as MetroPCS and Leap/Cricket, and strong regional providers like US Cellular and Cellular South, among others. The Department does not and cannot explain how, in the face of all of these aggressive rivals, the combined AT&T/T-Mobile will have any ability or incentive to restrict output, raise prices, or slow innovation. Nor can it explain how T-Mobile, the only major carrier to have actually lost subscribers in a robustly growing market, provides a unique competitive constraint on AT&T.

Of course AT&T neglects to note that MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (PCS) and Leap Communications International, Inc. (owner of Cricket) are both CDMA 3G companies, unlike T-Mobile and AT&T who are the only major U.S. GSM networks.  GSM is the most used wireless standard in the world, so most international business people or frequent overseas travelers prefer GSM.

Further, the statements ignore the fact that Verizon and Sprint provide service to MetroPCS and Leap/Cricket, so the market isn't quite as big as AT&T is making it out to be.

AT&T asserts that less competition is more, writing [pg. 3]:

Blocking this transaction will not help T-Mobile or its customers, but the transfer of T-Mobile’s network capacity and infrastructure to AT&T, a healthy competitor, will enhance competition for all, now and in the future.

And near the end of the response AT&T writes [pgs. 23-24]:

Defendants respond that significant efficiencies more than outweigh any anticompetitive effect from this merger. Defendants further respond that Plaintiff’s own Horizontal Merger Guidelines make clear that cost savings and other efficiencies can "reduce … the merged firm’s incentive to elevate prices," "make coordination less likely," and more
generally "reverse the merger’s potential to harm customers." Defendants further respond that it is Plaintiff’s burden to prove that, on balance, in light of all the evidence, including the competitive, efficiency-enhancing effects, the net effect of the transaction is to substantially lessen competition. 

Note the use of the bolded words.  AT&T phrasing makes it clear that it acknowledges the possibility that competition may be reduced, prices may rise, and coordination may occur.  It's just using clever legal language to try to make it sound otherwise.

II. No "Significant" Harm to Competition (Maybe Some?)

AT&T claims, "Although the transaction will remove T-Mobile as an independent competitor, no significant consumer harm will result."

In other words, AT&T is leaving the door open to the possibility that consumers may be harmed by what it considers to be "a little bit", but that the extent of the harm will not be enough to be considered "significant" -- not by AT&T's standards at least.

It also returns to its old arguments, blaming consumers for mandating this expensive acquisition.  It writes:

[C]ustomers’ insatiable and growing demand for wireless data is placing unprecedented strains on AT&T’s network and is impairing its ability to continue to meet explosive mobile broadband demands... Without this merger, AT&T will continue to experience capacity constraints, millions of customers will be deprived of faster and higher quality service, and innovation and infrastructure will be stunted.

AT&T claims it's the customers that are forcing it to reconsolidate its monopoly of yore.  However, the complaint doesn't quite make sense from a financial perspective.

As we already highlighted, AT&T is spending $39B USD for the equivalent of $3.8B USD of LTE coverage.  Even with the additional 3G coverage and spectrum, it's hard to believe that the cumulative market value of physical tangibles is worth more than $10B USD.

So if AT&T is facing such crippling demand why doesn't it just spend the $10B USD to upgrade its network and avoid paying an 290 percent premium on that infrastructure?  The answer is painfully obvious, though AT&T's lawyers continue to try to argue otherwise -- AT&T is spending 3.9 times the market value because it's getting something extra out of the deal -- a monopoly.

III. More Inaccuracies

AT&T's lawyers also seem ignorant to the difference between a national carrier and a local one.  It writes [pg. 5-6]:

Defendants further respond that characterization of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint as the "Big Four" is misleading in this context, because, as the FCC has recently found in its Fifteenth Report on the state of competition in the mobile services marketplace, more than 90% of U.S. consumers have at least five wireless providers to choose from. Defendants otherwise deny the allegations in this paragraph.

Except there's a good reason why the U.S. DOJ differentiates Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), and T-Mobile USA.  These are the only four networks to have major infrastructure deployment across the entire country.  

AT&T argues that there's a fifth carrier in most regions.  This is true, but these carriers (like Cellular South) rely on the infrastructure of the "Big Four".  Further, given that they rely on roaming agreements, their service is often considered inferior from a nationwide coverage perspective, and there's some truth to that argument.  In short there may be a fifth option, but it's not equivalent to the "Big Four" in that it lacks its own infrastructure, has far less subscribers, and is unlikely to always match its larger competitors in coverage when roaming.

Other items AT&T denies without offering any logic behind its rebuttal.

The United States files this Complaint under Section 15 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 25, to prevent and restrain Defendants from violating Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 18. 

Defendants admit that Plaintiff has filed its Complaint pursuant to Section 15 of the Clayton Act and that Plaintiff purports to seek to prevent and restrain Defendants from violating Section 7 of the Clayton Act. Defendants deny that the proposed transaction would violate the Clayton Act. 

The merged firm would have approximately 132 million connections to mobile wireless devices in the United States, with more than $72 billion in mobile wireless telecommunications services revenues. 

Defendants deny ... the allegations..."

The latter denial is particularly baffling given that it's simple arithmetic (AT&T: 96 million customers; T-Mobile: 33.73 million customers; 96+33.73=~130 (the minor 2 million discrepancy is likely due to the DOJ having access to the most recent unpublished subscriber figures).

IV. AT&T's Lawyers Appear Incapable of Using Google

AT&T also is consistently griping about "unidentified written material", which it calls "misleading and inappropriate."

Well that complaint seems rather dubious, given that we were able to easily locate the passages in question via Google searches.

For example the DOJ quotes AT&T as saying that CMAs are "the predominant forces driving competition among wireless carriers operate at the national level".  It took us about 2 minutes to find this document via Google.  It's hosted here [pg. 28].  AT&T wrote this (!), but is feigning ignorance.

AT&T also is befuddled by when T-Mobile said it "make smart phones affordable for the average US consumer".  This took us 1 minute to find in Google.  It's here [pg. 17].

In other words, two of AT&T's complaints took us three minutes to find via Google.  We'd hardly call that "unidentified" -- particularly because AT&T and T-Mobile made these claims and thus should be in possession of copies of these documents.  Further, AT&T's claims that the commentary is taken out of context seem almost entirely false -- it seems blatantly obvious what the context is and what the comments mean, with regard to the majority of these quoted passages.

V. Wasting Taxpayer Money

Whatever harm consumers face from the deal is being amplified by the fact that AT&T's court case is wasting U.S. taxpayer money.  Unfortunately the U.S. government stands little hope of recouping its legal fees, even if it succeeds in blocking AT&T's monopoly bid.

Documents like this one -- full of disingenuous wording, feigned ignorance, misleading claims -- represent the kind of wasted time that AT&T is looking to force the U.S. government -- and taxpayers -- to endure.  The DOJ will likely spend millions in billable legal hours in order to try to fight AT&T's legal team.

The alternative is to allow AT&T to gain a GSM monopoly and return to the unchallenged monopoly it once held on the American market.  In short this is one case where U.S. consumers appears to face a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario.

AT&T may yet make some valid arguments in support of the merger.  But such arguments were few and far between in this filing, as with previous ones.  

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OT, but...
By wpodonnell on 9/12/2011 9:13:09 AM , Rating: 3
I just love the accompanying photo of Agent Smith. Nice little representation of corporate malevolence.

RE: OT, but...
By MrTeal on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: OT, but...
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 10:19:59 AM , Rating: 5
I love how they blatantly ripped off the screen capture from the Daily Show without attributing it, tossed on a T-Mobile logo and then write Copyright © 2011 DailyTech LLC.
Sorry I'm adding attribution for the base image. But I claim fair use in that I heavily modified the image by adding T-Mobile to the diagram. In case you're not aware this is legal and further common practice among tech news sites (e.g. Gizmodo frequently Photoshops the AT&T logo w scenes from Star Wars -- both proprietary works -- then watermarks the image indicating ownership of the resulting collage...)

RE: OT, but...
By Flunk on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: OT, but...
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 10:46:16 AM , Rating: 3
You disagree with fair use and its legal allowance of writers/digital artists to make collages??

RE: OT, but...
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 10:49:50 AM , Rating: 4
I should add that the Daily Show's original image is a collage itself, pasting together multiple trademarked and/or copyrighted images such as the AT&T logo... Kind of makes your complaint against me doing the same all the more dubious....

Can we get back to the topic @ hand? (The lawsuit)

RE: OT, but...
By mostyle on 9/13/2011 6:22:03 AM , Rating: 2
In today's society that is sadly untrue.. Its more determined by how many entities do it. :)

Call the kettle black already!
By Dr of crap on 9/12/2011 10:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
Why doesn't anyone on the DOJ side of this come out and say this merger will make ATT into a monoploy?

Or have they and I didn't notice?
If, as writen here, it's easy to trace that the old boys ( Ma bells ) are getting back together, then point it out. Why are they tip-toeing around what everyone it thinking!?!

RE: Call the kettle black already!
By sangyup81 on 9/12/2011 10:51:09 AM , Rating: 2
Why doesn't anyone on the DOJ side of this come out and say this merger will make ATT into a monoploy?

Or have they and I didn't notice? If, as writen here, it's easy to trace that the old boys ( Ma bells ) are getting back together, then point it out. Why are they tip-toeing around what everyone it thinking!?!

How about because of a strong Verizon Wireless and the presence of Sprint and all its MVNOs?

RE: Call the kettle black already!
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 10:59:34 AM , Rating: 3
I think the op is referring to that the deal will give AT&T a monopoly on U.S. GSM services....

By Dr of crap on 9/12/2011 12:08:02 PM , Rating: 1

RE: Call the kettle black already!
By rrburton on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
By Dr of crap on 9/13/2011 9:03:44 AM , Rating: 2
Missed the point again.
Why doesn't the DOJ call ATT on the fact that they WILL have the beginnings of a MONOPLOY. And not just in GSM. ( Not that I care what tech they use for their wireless system ).

Wasting taxpayer money?
By jeepga on 9/12/2011 9:57:58 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know, but I would be surprised if the DOJ lawyers were billable attorneys. I assume they are staff attorneys, meaning they'd get paid whether they were on this case or another. You could argue their time would be spent better somewhere else, but I don't think the wasting taxpayer's money argument sticks.

By the way, AT&T was split into seven companies not eight.

RE: Wasting taxpayer money?
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 10:32:45 AM , Rating: 3
By the way, AT&T was split into seven companies not eight.
Thanks, I meant six of seven, typed seven of eight....
I don't know, but I would be surprised if the DOJ lawyers were billable attorneys. I assume they are staff attorneys, meaning they'd get paid whether they were on this case or another. You could argue their time would be spent better somewhere else, but I don't think the wasting taxpayer's money argument sticks.

I disagree with this though. Retainer attorneys aren't free. How many the DOJ hires is directly corellated to how many major cases it must contest... So the taxpayer is paying one way or another based on AT&T's decision to contest this suit.

Not maybe
By masamasa on 9/12/2011 11:04:02 AM , Rating: 2

down with att
By darckhart on 9/12/2011 11:26:40 AM , Rating: 2
I hate ATT and any obstacle in their path to attempt to merge I will gladly support.

Went from ATT to Cingular to ATT. Was with them for 8 years. With stupid business tactics, I was forced to drop them. (With sprint now) I used ATT for my dsl for 6 years. Once again, stupid tactics, and I've dropped them. Unfortunately, my dsl provider (sonic) just resells the ATT lines in the ground... and I am getting terrible service because (you guessed it) every hardware test or change requires my provider to ask ATT, and ATT are jerks.

Sooo, yes, stop ATT from attempting to become the largest GSM provider. They do not have any customer interests at heart except bilking you every month for as much as they can.


Reading comprehension
By sleepeeg3 on 9/14/2011 4:46:15 AM , Rating: 2
He lacks it.

By atlmann10 on 9/14/2011 9:12:49 AM , Rating: 2
You know the thing about this whole merger that really confuses me is T-Mobile. I am a T-Mobile customer, and I also love there service which in my area provides great coverage.

Of course as of late the pricing, terms etc are getting a little messed up regarding data must have's, and the still owe me my $50 rebate from may (and it is September).

Now on to the confusion. OK; T-mobile agreed to this merger initially, but has seemingly fought it since then. I don't know if it is because they incorrectly assumed there customers would like it, and the found out otherwise, or they just wanted the cash as all together with straight cash, bandwidth (roaming), back haul etc the total with spectrum allowances is about 7 billion dollars in cash, goods, and services.

T-mobile has seemingly fought this whole thing since about month 2 or 3. They aired negative commercials, they have published negative comments, and on and on. It does not make sense coming from a company who was looking for this seemingly when it started.

DO not get me wrong I am glad my provider is going to get a ton of cash, back haul, bandwidth, and roaming access. I hope it strengthens there US standing, reliability, coverage etc as well as my services, reliability, and pricing. The whole thing just seems strange when looked at from over head.

The other thing that worries me is from what I hear is that T-Mobile US is financially in trouble. SO I hope that money and additives allows them to fix that. I am just worried that if it does not some one, entity, corporate giant etc is still going to take them over. Oh and the main reason they lost or have been losing customers has been because AT&T was supposedly going to take them over. So; now that, that is hopefully over they will begin gaining some users, and strength back!

By svetzy on 9/14/2011 12:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you Daily Tech for publishing this article! It's so frustrating to see news coverage of this deal that essentially just reprints AT&T's ludicrous claims without any critical analysis of their claims. I am a T-Mobile customer and I am praying that this deal does not go through. I am 'severely disappointed' (to use lawyer language) in AT&T's predatory billing practices, and I can't believe so many people just accept them and choose to keep AT&T in business. This deal will absolutely be bad for customers, not to mention that AT&T will almost certainly destroy more former T-Mobile jobs than the "5,000" call-center jobs they claim they will bring to the US.

By kidboodah on 9/16/2011 9:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
Jason, have you seen this article?

It's a good read about why it takes more than just throwing cash around to get cell towers on the ground.

Protecting the smaller users
By Hannableh on 9/30/2011 12:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
I might be grievously wrong here, but in my mind there are still small users out there that hardly make use of 3G, and certainly have no more interest in LTE, than in the defrosted vegetables in my kitchen. I'd go so far to say at least 50% of cellphone owners nationwide still operate on dumb phones. In this particular age of fiscal recession, where prepaid is becoming the only sensible option for those who want to exert an element of control regarding their cellphone bill, the only saviors are the small wireless providers, and specifically the resellers. You take tracfones SVC brand, that runs solely off AT&T's network; it's the only nationwide prepaid brand there is for seniors - all dependant on AT&T, who will have monopoly of their "affordable" service once the merger happens. I think the FCC, and the DoJ should focus a little more on protecting these affordable budget brands, and their relations with AT&T, instead of getting caught up in the techy world's of LTE roll outs, and spectrum devisions.

T-Mobile customer loss
By Shukla on 9/12/2011 1:27:55 PM , Rating: 1
T-Mobile really has lost customers because of this takeover. While they didn't have iPhone and that impacted, if they are seperate the environment has changed. I think given the positive customer service experiences and pretty fast network, they could do well away from AT&T over time.

ATT argument that Metro PCS is a competitor is hollow. Metro PCS revenue was ~$900M vice ATT which is $31B (3%)! I hope this does not go through.

The Real Point
By The Insolent One on 9/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: The Real Point
By Reclaimer77 on 9/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: The Real Point
By The Insolent One on 9/12/2011 9:27:32 PM , Rating: 1
From the US DOJ website:

The mission of the Antitrust Division is to promote economic competition through enforcing and providing guidance on antitrust laws and principles.

Antitrust Laws

The goal of the antitrust laws is to protect economic freedom and opportunity by promoting free and fair competition in the marketplace.

Competition in a free market benefits American consumers through lower prices, better quality and greater choice. Competition provides businesses the opportunity to compete on price and quality, in an open market and on a level playing field, unhampered by anticompetitive restraints. Competition also tests and hardens American companies at home, the better to succeed abroad.

Federal antitrust laws apply to virtually all industries and to every level of business, including manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and marketing. They prohibit a variety of practices that restrain trade, such as price-fixing conspiracies, corporate mergers likely to reduce the competitive vigor of particular markets, and predatory acts designed to achieve or maintain monopoly power.

In addition to enforcing the antitrust laws, the Antitrust Division also acts as an advocate for competition, seeking to promote competition in sectors of the economy that are or may be subject to government regulation. These sectors include:

-Federally regulated industries, such as communications, banking, agriculture, securities, transportation, energy, and international trade.
-State or locally regulated industries, such as insurance, housing, health care, public utilities, professional and occupational licensing, certain aspects of banking, and real estate.


Did you notice the part about free and fair competition?

Free and fair competition is in the public interest (aka, the common good).

By allowing this merger to go through...the DOJ would not be promoting economic competition.

What part of our society today do you think is 100% free of government regulation?

BTW...nice try throwing the word communism in there. I heard that used to really work in the 60's and 70's to help you win any argument.

twisting words
By robbase29a on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By ksherman on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 12:08:51 PM , Rating: 1
so you taking the quote from ATT that there will not be "significant harm" to the consumer -- bastardizing it -- and turning it into ATT admitting that the merger will hurt consumers? -the whole premise of this article is ridiculous. This is totally sad reporting. And i'm sorry to see this kind of stupid stuff from you, Jason.

I never said that AT&T admitted that it WOULD hurt customers. They would never do that! But by saying it won't hurt consumers substantially, they're essentially admitting it may hurt consumers a little. If not they'd say it "will not hurt consumers" (without the disclaimer language).

Wording is absolutely important.

If I walked up to you with a bat and you got scared and I said "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you!", maybe you'd feel a bit better. But if I said, "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you substantially !" you'd feel a lot differently, probably....

It doesn't matter whether or not ATT owns all GSM frequencies. It will not have a monopoly on the wireless communications industry. If you're trying to imply that T-Mobile is the only thing holding back ATT from total market domination, then we have other issues. --wait a few years when T-mobile will just fold on its own and see what happens. The fact is: that there is a lot of substitutes to wireless service. Now if ATT were trying to purchase verizon... yeah, i'd start to worry. But this is a case where number 2 is merging with number 4; true, they'll gobble up enough to be the new number 1, but the fact remains that subscribers still have alternatives.

Simply not true when it comes to GSM. Remember GSM (3G) is still the standard when it comes to most of the world. If the deal goes through AT&T will gain near absolute control over GSM service in the U.S.

The monopoly tag applies specifically to 3G GSM coverage.

As to the T-Mobile folding part, that's highly speculative. It's true it's not profitable and Deutsche Telekom is looking to offload it. But there's plenty of potential buyers. Just maybe not @ the ridiculous premium AT&T is willing to offer in order to squelch competition...

RE: twisting words
By robbase29a on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 1:32:36 PM , Rating: 1
You can't faithfully take a non-negative and turn it into a perhaps-positive and call it the same thing. I agree that wording is important; and changing "no significant" to "perhaps some" is misleading to say the least. It actually means something completely different. You're really grasping at straws here. We'd argue about this all day without getting anywhere, so let's just say that we're at an impass here.

It's not a non-negative! It's a qualified indefinite. In this case the qualified indefinite can be a partial positive, a significant positive or a partial negative. Logic 101!

Your logic is flawed. (same to the op below).

e.g. if this was an if statement and good is positive and bad was negative this would be like saying:

if ( Impact > -2000000 ) printf("Harm is not substantial!\n"); //prints if no harm, or just a little harm...

...harm may be minor (as my headline asserts) or it may not. The point is that AT&T is making no guarantees with respect to what it defines as minor competitive harm. And there's compelling evidence that there would be competitive harm.

If you don't work @ AT&T or own AT&T stock, this should be self-evident.

To quote you, I'd say that changing a indefinite (what I state) to a non-negative (your claim) "is misleading to say the least."

(Disclaimer: I own no stock in AT&T or its rivals and have no other financial stake in either party, other than my phone service is through Sprint.)

I'll repeat my earlier argument that it would not make a hill of beans if ATT has complete control on GSM coverage. Your argument of foreign travel is the best their is on the monopoly issue, but it still has flaws. With the price of phones these days, it's much easier to go ahead and purchase a prepaid plan when travelling internationally. In fact, many of our GSM phones here will not even work overseas, so that argument is almost completely mute.

Not necessarily true. I have several friends who coinhabit two nations and they prefer GSM phones. If you spend a lot of time in both regions, getting two contracts on a single GSM phone is less hassle and less expensive than one CDMA contract phone and one prepaid (foreign) GSM phone.

I believe the statistics support this general trend.

Competition will still exist when ATT purchases T-mobile. That's all that matters. T-mobile is bleeding cash and is up for sale. Verizon won't buy them (if they did, would there be as much of a concern?) The best case for the t-mobile shareholders is to be purchased as soon as possible and att is willing to overpay quite a bit right now. If this deal doesn't go through, we'll see what happens.. when all that's left of t-mobile is their infrastructure.

Of course it's good for T-Mobile shareholders (perhaps you're one). But it's likely bad for T-Mobile consumers and bad for consumers in general from a competitive standpoint.

And again you neglect the possibility that there's plenty of other telecom-interested companies that are big enough to purchase T-Mobile. AT&T just happens to be the only one who would gain a monopoly on GSM, and thus was the quickest and most lucrative buyer.

T-Mobile will likely (note the indefinite) sell to someone at above the current worth, even if the AT&T deal goes down in flames.

RE: twisting words
By robbase29a on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By JasonMick on 9/12/2011 2:59:53 PM , Rating: 1
I was refering to harm as the positive test result, and I could have (and probably should have) said non-positive, but i thought you'd get it. obviously not, my bad. You're still mincing words. If your Logic 101 says that "ATT states no significant harm" is equal to "ATT admits harm" then your class is flawed. Out of all of ATT's comments and arguments for the betterment of consumers, you take one and twist it to make them "leave the door open to perhaps-maybe-possibly cause marginal-but-perhaps-insignificant harm to consumers" I'm not here to argue words, i'm just saying that your headline is very misleading.

No, as I've tried to explain to you multiple times, the headline is correct. AT&T's wording acknowledges that their may be slight harm -- it is an indefinite. Again, one more time. The only thing they guarantee is that there won't be "significant" harm to consumers.

Again, this is a qualified indefinite, so it indicates both a partial-negative and partial-positive are possible outcomes -- the headline points to the negative one simply because it's an interesting admission.

Again, remember too that AT&T is arbitrarily defining what it thinks to be "significant". It does not including its definition of significant harm vs. minor/slight harm in the document....

I don't own ATT stock or T-mobile stock, and I definitely dont' work for either company. I'm just an observer here.

Well that's good....
Good for them! The fact remains that they have choices! They don't have to use GSM here or there! It's just convenient. I'm sure you don't think it's our government's job to regulate our companies to use forein standards for convenience sake. (or maybe you do) Then verizon wouldn't even exist... at least in the same capacity. Everyone would have to use GSM? no. that's retarded.

That's like saying you have a choice between walking or riding your car. Yes there's choices, but one choice is much less convenient than the other, since it's a different kind of product.

So yes, AT&T does, in a sense, own a monopoly.

T-mobile's owners should get the say in who purchases them. As long as the sale is legal. Saying that there are other possible buyers that maybe won't pay as much, but that would be better anyway is definitely not free-market. Whatever, maybe you're not a free-market person.

There's a difference between a free market and an unregulated market.

In an unregulated market insider trading would be legal, etc.

I'm a free market person, but any sane person realizes that mild market regulation is necessary to safeguard modern economies.

I believe this despite my somewhat libertarian leanings, in terms of federal authority.

RE: twisting words
By robbase29a on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By aharris on 9/12/2011 7:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
Not denying a possible negative is not the same as admitting a possible negative.

Maybe not with regards to everyday conversation, but with legal interpretation, it absolutely leaves room for the possible negative to be true.

If AT&T were ultimately sued by consumers for causing "insignificant harm", this clause proves its point.

AT&T: "We never said the merger wouldn't cause harm. We said it wouldn't cause significant harm."

^True statement.

And forgive me if you're an employee or a stakeholder of said blue giant, but I, as a consumer, am not willing to roll the dice on the premise that AT&T's definition of "insignificant harm" won't negatively impact me.

I'd analogize that being FOR this merger is similar to volunteering to be a casualty of war.

RE: twisting words
By bfdd on 9/12/2011 6:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
lol @ all the Mick hate. He's right on this, the fact they say no substantial harm means there will be anywhere from SOME harm to no harm done at all. The fact they would use a term to describe some harm to the customer could be done, indicates they are(in some estimates) measuring some level of harm to the customer. Or else why not just say "no harm will be done to the consumer". lols

RE: twisting words
By vol7ron on 9/12/2011 7:30:34 PM , Rating: 2
Jason, that's not right.

ATT is saying that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff and that burden has to be substantial .

Just like, when the jury finds someone guilty, they must find them beyond reasonable doubt. Substantial and reasonable are minimums, which must be found; it doesn't mean any exist. ATT is saying, considering everything involved, if there is less competition, it must be substantial.

I know it's tricky to understand this lawyer talk. I will say good attempt, but what you've posted isn't exactly accurate.

"Monopoly" is also fishy. In terms of what you're saying, maybe, but legally ATT will not have any Monopoly. The other carriers are free to switch to GSM if they so please, they just don't want to and if it is the better technology, then maybe they will in the future. Regardless, AT&T will not be a monopoly, however they will be shifting the current oligopoly in place today -- and I, for one, am not sure it's a good thing.

RE: twisting words
By adiposity on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By robbase29a on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By Dr of crap on 9/12/2011 12:16:54 PM , Rating: 2
What alternatives?

You can't object to the fact that there are 4 carriers that have built up the infrastucture to do wireless calls. Any other carriers, the small players, just use the infrastructures of the big 4 carriers.

And while I have you reading this, who asks their carrier what type of service they provide? GSM? Like I care if they provide GSM or not.

RE: twisting words
By robbase29a on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By semiconshawn on 9/12/2011 3:36:25 PM , Rating: 5
I. Mick always bashes ATT. (I am not a fan of ATT but damn)
II. He writes every article now like its an outline for a term paper.
III. Everyone of his articles should be labeled an editorial. Opinionated drivel mixed in with hand picked facts.
IV. Roman numerals make you feel smart and organized.

RE: twisting words
By Reclaimer77 on 9/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: twisting words
By Willhouse on 9/13/2011 9:29:29 AM , Rating: 1
Unfortuantely many of the claims made from the headline and then throughout the article are not supported or weakly supported, and I can't rally behind the author. For example, while the phrase "substatially lessen competition" does occur in AT&T's rebuttal, it is at the end of phrase arguing that it is the DOJ's job to prove that the merger will cause reduced competition, not a claim that reduced competition will occur.

RE: twisting words
By sleepeeg3 on 9/14/2011 4:50:31 AM , Rating: 2

Mick, just quit while you are behind.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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