Skip to main content

AT&T, T-Mobile Defend Deal

It's all about the spectrum.

That was the response of AT&T and T-Mobile to the numerous petitions to deny their $39 billion deal last week, which the FCC and Justice are currently vetting.

"One overarching imperative drives this transaction," said the companies in their joint opposition to those petitions to deny. "[G]iving AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers the network capacity they need to enjoy the full promise of the mobile broadband revolution."

The companies pointed to their pledge to deliver next-generation wireless broadband to over 97%--just short of the president's wireless broadband deployment target of 98%--for what they called the "unprecedented" support for the merger.

That includes the support of 17 governors--up two governors in the past few days, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, Yahoo.

Microsoft, and a number of major unions including the Communications Workers of America, the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters.

They spotlighted the union and Silicon Valley support, suggesting those merger bedfellows had not been wooed to any FCC-vetted deal in the past decade and a half. They called that a repudiation of opponents claims that the deal would hurt competition, innovation, and consumers.

There were a lot of those claims, particularly from Sprint, which said the deal would represent an inexorable regressions to duopoly that would harm consumers, businesses, and competition.

Media Access Project, filing for Consumers Union the Writers Guild of America, West (not every union is on the AT&T-T-Mobile bandwagon) and others, said in their petition to deny that the deal would do "incurable harm" to the mobile wireless market, would increase prices and decrease innovation.

For their part, AT&T and T-Mobile called those points "spin" and essentially dismissed those petitioners as its competitors--principally Sprint--offering up empty and overwrought rhetoric and MAP and company as "the same interest groups that reflexively oppose all significant mergers."

"At bottom, these rivals would simply prefer to compete against a capacity-constrained AT&T and a standalone T-Mobile USA without financial backing from its parent and no clear path to LTE," said AT&T and T-Mobile. "And they seek to prevent the emergence of a more efficient competitor that will offer consumers higher quality services."