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AT&T-Mobile Hearing Teed Up

Legislators have slated their first hearing on the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger May 11, according to a hearing notice issued Thursday.

The hearing will be in the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.

The hearing is entitled "The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?," a title which appears to signal the Democratic leadership's take on the deal's prospects (no amount of government horsepower succeeded in getting Humpty together, after all).

AT&T last month said it had struck a $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom.

The Humpty-Dumpty reference squares with Subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl's concerned take on the announcement not long after it was made. "Consumers have borne the brunt of the increasingly concentrated market for mobile phone service," he said in a March 20 statement. "The explosion of cell phone usage - especially smart phones - makes competition in this market more important than ever as a check on prices, consumer choice, and service.  That's why the Antitrust Subcommittee will take a close look at what this loss of competition will mean for people who increasingly rely on wireless phone service to connect to friends, family and the Internet."

Witnesses for the hearing have not yet been announced.