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AT&T is receiving support from one U.S. state regulator and 11 state attorneys general who are for the merger

AT&T has been working to acquire Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA in a $39 billion deal, but the U.S. Senate's antitrust committee recently expressed doubts in regards to the merger. Now, AT&T is receiving support on the matter from one U.S. state regulator and 11 state attorneys general who are for the merger.

Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), chairman of the antitrust committee, as well as Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Calif., 14th District), chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass., 7th District), and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich., 14th District) are among those opposing the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. They openly expressed their opinions in a letter to the Department of Justice (DOP) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) saying that such a merger would kill competition and hike prices for customers.

"We believe that AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy -- a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace," they wrote. "Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it."

AT&T responded to the U.S. Senate committee, saying that these opinions are "inconsistent with antitrust law, is shared by few others, and ignores the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction." AT&T also mentioned that the merger would help it expand a quicker service to more people.

Now, it looks like AT&T has acquired more supporters to help push this merger along. The Louisiana Public Service Commission, which regulates transportation and public utilities in the state, voted 4-1 to approve the merger. In addition, another 11 state attorneys general wrote a letter to the DOP and FCC asking for merger-specific conditions that protect competition as well as public interest, yet doesn't delay the merger.

The 11 state attorneys general supporting the merger are Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Utah, Mississippi, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.

"Their call for federal regulators to expeditiously review and approve the merger further builds on our unprecedented nationwide support from federal, state and local elected officials, national unions, non-profit organizations and high-tech and venture capital firms," said Wayne Watts, AT&T's senior executive vice president and general counsel.

If the merger were to go through, 80 percent of the U.S. wireless market would be consumed by two companies -- Verizon Wireless and AT&T/T-Mobile. Verizon has not mentioned whether it is for or against the merger, but chief executive Dan Mead has said that he is "not concerned" with it. Analysts believe Verizon could benefit from the merger by picking up subscribers during the potentially frustrating period of transition during the merging of both companies.

Sprint, on the other hand, has made its opinion clear -- it is against the merger mainly for competitive reasons, and has also said that bring both companies together will "stifle innovation" in the wireless market.

Ultimately, the choice is up to the Justice Department, which will conduct an antitrust review, and the FCC, which will decide if the merge is best for the public.


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RE: Sweet!
By christojojo on 7/29/2011 6:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
Can you please explain in the long run how the lack of competition ever gives the consumer a true advantage?

I can't remember a single (admittedly a cursory look back)merger that did what we were promised.


RE: Sweet!
By Targon on 7/29/2011 8:31:23 AM , Rating: 1
It is a given right now that T-mobile is going to go away, if the merger goes through or not. It is just a matter of when, and what happens to the assets of the company. So, it's not a matter of the merger reducing competition at this point, and is just helping firm up the competition between Verizon and AT&T.

Remember, T-mobile has towers in places AT&T does not, so that alone makes the merger a positive thing for AT&T customers. For T-mobile, which does not have coverage in many many places, those customers will suddenly be on a large network, and as long as ALL the towers are used by AT&T, the T-mobile customers will not experience any reduction in signal strength or anything negative there.


RE: Sweet!
By sprockkets on 7/29/2011 9:02:35 AM , Rating: 5
Well, if TMobile is going away, Att can buy it for pennies on the dollar when and if it ever happens.

Until then, those "regulators" can shove an iphone up their ass.


RE: Sweet!
By quiksilvr on 7/29/2011 9:04:32 AM , Rating: 2
Except the extra fees and ball constricting data caps. Do you honestly think they will keep the same prices for those not in a contract with T-Mobile?

Right now we have the Even More Plus family plan that gives us 1500 minutes and unlimited texting for three people for $85 a month and no contract ties. A similar plan with AT&T would be $110 and requires a 2 year contract.

So pretty much, we'll be switching over to Sprint or Virgin Mobile when the change occurs.


RE: Sweet!
By aharris02 on 7/29/2011 2:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to exclude the fact that T-Mobile will come out vastly richer if the deal doesn't go through.

If they can't regain their standing with a $3-6B infusion of cash, they have bigger problems.


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