House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith pledges support for AT&T, T-Mobile merger

By on August 2, 2011 at 5:25 PM.

House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith pledges support for AT&T, T-Mobile merger

House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith wrote a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, on Tuesday expressing his support of AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. Smith said he believes the FCC and the Department of Justice have only heard “one side of the story” from members of congress who provided “limited information” during recent briefings. Smith also said that his committee has “heard evidence” that the merger will:

Substantially improve the quality of the capacity of its broadband network thereby creating jobs an spurring innovation; use existing spectrum more efficiently to overcome the current spectrum shortage; expand its LTE mobile broadband Internet service to 97% of America including much of rural America; and provide better service to its customers thereby giving its competitors an incentive to improve their service.

Smith said any evidence from the congressional hearings that omits the aforementioned points “paints an incomplete picture.” Sprint has been one of the most vocal opponents of the merger and has said that, in contrast to creating jobs and innovation, the acquisition will “stifle” innovation in the U.S. Wireless market. Read on for more. More →

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Verizon COO: AT&T/T-Mobile merger will ‘probably go through’

By on July 21, 2011 at 3:35 PM.

Verizon COO: AT&T/T-Mobile merger will ‘probably go through’

Speaking during a recent Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, Verizon’s Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam said he expects AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA to be approved by government regulators. “I’d say the merger will probably go through,” McAdam said. “It’s a merger AT&T probably had to do.” While other carriers such as Sprint have been vocal in their opposition of the deal, Verizon has remained relatively quiet. According to Reuters, McAdam said he was surprised AT&T hadn’t purchased T-Mobile sooner and that the deal “makes sense.” On Wednesday, Senate Antitrust Subcommitee chairman Herb Kohl called on the FCC and the Justice Department to block the merger and said the deal would be “contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest.” AT&T quickly shot down Kohl’s statement and said Kohl ignored “the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction.” Among those supporters is Senator Mike Lee, who argued that the “mobile phone market is a critical component of our nation’s economy and the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile deserves careful review.” More →

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Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

By on July 20, 2011 at 3:24 PM.

Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

Senator Herb Kohl, the chairman of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee is recommending that federal regulators deny AT&T’s $39 billion planned acquisition of T-Mobile. ”I have concluded that this acquisition, if permitted to proceed, would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest, and therefore should be blocked by your agencies,” Kohl said on Wednesday. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Congressman John Conyers, and Congressman Edward Markey also recently wrote a letter to the Justice Department and the FCC expressing concern that the acquisition would hurt competition in the U.S. wireless market. “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,” the letter said. “Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it.” Sprint and its CEO Dan Hesse have also been very involved in trying to stop the merger. While Hesse has argued the deal will “stifle innovation” in the U.S. Wireless market, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has argued the opposite and has said it will result in “net job growth.” In June AT&T’s General Counsel Wayne Watts said that the deal, which has been backed by other big tech hitters such as Microsoft, was on schedule for a March 2012 approval. More →

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