FCC official: ‘No way chairman’s office rubber stamps’ AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, an anonymous Federal Communications Commission official said “there’s no way the chairman’s office [will] rubber-stamp” AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of Deutsche Telecom-owned T-Mobile USA, and that the approval process will be “a steep climb at least.” The FCC official went on to say that the FCC has not even started to evaluate the deal and that it will be scrutinized and denied or accepted based on whether or not it will be in the best interest of consumers. Similar deals have been doubted before, though, and the WSJ points to the merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite radio, which FCC chairman Kevin Martin said would be a high hurdle to approve back in 2007. Current FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Tuesday during his speech at the CTIA Wireless 2011 trade show, which we live blogged, that “healthy competition produces greater innovation and investment, lower prices, and better service.” AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile is seen as likely decreasing the amount of competition in the U.S. wireless market, with just three major carriers competing for customers. But Genachowski has yet to comment on the acquisition proposal. As we said in an earlier editorial, T-Mobile customers could come out on top with this deal — if it ends up being approved.

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