AT&T’s plans to purchase Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA will get a thorough examination from government agencies, including antitrust and communications investigators, an FCC aide affirmed on Thursday. AT&T proposed the $39 billion deal on March 20th and a company spokesperson told Bloomberg that Ma Bell plans to file its official application to the Federal Communications Commission “around April 21st.” Once the application has been submitted, the FCC reportedly has 180 days to grant approval. However, one FCC employee told Bloomberg that the FCC isn’t always limited to 180 days, so it could take a bit longer before a final decision is released. The deal has been openly opposed by Sprint, which claimed the transaction would “harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it,” and one anonymous FCC official has said “there’s no way the chairman’s office [will] rubber-stamp” the deal. AT&T’s CEO Randall L. Stephenson sees things differently. On March 30th he said the acquisition will immediately improve reliability for AT&T customers, and argued that there’s plenty of wireless competition in the United States that will continue to help push prices down for consumers.
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