AT&T deal to face ‘steep climb’ at FCC

“AT&T Inc.’s $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG could be facing an uphill climb at the Federal Communications Commission,” Amy Schatz reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“‘There’s no way the chairman’s office rubber-stamps this transaction. It will be a steep climb to say the least,’ said an FCC official on Wednesday. The official declined to comment on the record,” Schatz reports. “The official stressed that the agency hasn’t even begun to formally evaluate AT&T’s proposal and will examine the deal on its merits and whether it’s in the public interest.”

Schatz reports, “The agency’s review could take upwards of a year to complete and the Justice Department must also weigh in on competitive concerns about allowing the U.S.’s second largest wireless carrier to acquire the fourth largest.

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

7 Comments

  1. As someone who has personnally gotten a few country wide (and in a couple cases world wide) licenses through the FCC and the ITU, I can say definitively that the unnamed FCC source either does not exist or does not know the rules.

    The SEC, FTC, Justice and State must approve the deal. The FCC only gets to approve, or disapprove, the transfer of the operating licenses for operating in certain frequencies with specified implementations (GSM, etc.). If all the other agencies approve the deal then the FCC can only disapprove the transfer of specific licenses to if there are legitimate conflicts in their use or implementation. This kind of thing has often happened in the past: company X can transfer all but a small subset of the approved license and must divest itself of that subset to a third party because of implementation conflicts.

    The FCC has absolutely NO say in the business deal at all.

    In theory the FCC could say that there are conflicts with *all* the licensed implementaitons and not allow the transfer or use of any of that by ATT after the merger but the merger still to go through.

  2. Of course they’ll let them merge. What do you think we have in this country a democracy? We’re a plutocracy and we don’t want no competition in the markets.

  3. AT&T has one of the largest corporate lobbying budgets. The deal will go through.

    On might view lobbying as legalized corruption, but it’s a fact of our government, and a discussion for some other board.

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