Trade Groups ask U.S. agencies to reject AT&T, T-Mobile deal

“Two U.S. agencies reviewing AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA should reject it because it’s anticompetitive and will hurt consumers and the U.S. tech industry, three antitrust experts said Tuesday,” Grant Gross reports for IDG News Service.

“The deal is ‘about the most brazen merger proposal in history,’ said Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a trade group that has pushed for strong antitrust enforcement in the tech industry,” Gross reports. “The merger would shrink the U.S. mobile market from four to three national competitors, with T-Mobile, the “low-cost leader,” swallowed up by AT&T, added Richard Brunell, director of legal advocacy at American Antitrust Institute (AAI), a think tank focused on strong antitrust enforcement. The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Federal Communications Commission will reject the deal if they follow U.S. antitrust precedence, he said.”

Gross reports, “The deal is ‘presumptively anticompetitive,’ added Allen Grunes, chairman of the Antitrust Committee of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia and member of AAI’s advisory board.”

Read more in the full article here.

11 Comments

  1. Its a no brainer, obviously. But then again, that means it’s probably gonna happen.

    ATT will not want any competitors offering unlimited data plans.

  2. T-M has just announced and end to unlimited data, so I don’t know how “more competition” means better prices. Wouldn’t Sprint have all cell phone customers in the USA if people shopped by just price?

  3. T-Mobile and ATT share similar footprints. Do not see how this will have much bearing on the other companies. It may increase the size of ATT. But the coverage is not expanding much.

    Customer base does not have the anti-trust angle to me.
    If area base was expanding into other markets that sprint and verzion have locks on now, then it may have have anti-trust angles that promote customer choice.

    To me, allow it to happen. Give ATT better coverage in the market it has.

      1. Bravo, well said!

        Power Monopolys bad. Allow everybody to create power generation to compete-good!
        Government mompolies bad! Allow business to compete-good!
        DMV-poorly run- private to freely tag in to compete. Good!
        Social service fraud and abuse-allow private oversight to root out fraud…comp good.
        School-government monopoly bad. Allow choice-good!
        Government accounting oversight information monopoly. Bad- open access to every Jack and Gill- Good.

        To name a few…. Very little competion where we need it.
        Large Government Monopoly bad….. Needs competion to root out the good old career politician fraud!

        Geez…. Eyes wide shut

  4. What is a company like T-Mobile, with an increasingly marginalized business, supposed to do? T-Mobile attempted to compete in the U.S. and finds it in their best interest to cut bait. They can continue to bleed revenue, or stop investment and wither on the vine, or sell while they can to an interested party. It’s not like T-Mobile is involved in a hostile takeover, or is being coerced in any way. The company has decided it is in there best business interest to take the offer from ATT. I agree it would be nice if T-Mobile could provide the same exact coverage of ATT or Verizon and still offer better pricing, but this does not seem to be the case. I agree that lack of choice is a problem from consumers, but T-Mobile customers wouldn’t be better served if they just closed their doors.

  5. Choice can be a bad thing. Consumers with too much choice become confused. Put two bails of hay twenty feet apart, place a donkey between them, because it has two choices it cannot make a choice it then starves.

    We now have two major cell carriers, AT&T and Verizon, smaller are Sprint and T-Mobile (which for years has been sharing towers and data with AT&T), also we have many regional carriers.

    The manner the US cell service is run is terrible. Third world countries have better cell service than the USA, and they have one carrier. Europe and Asia have better cell service than we do. Notice years before we do they have better phones, iPhone not included.

    Let AT&T merge with T-Mobile or let T-Moble die a slow painful death hurting employees and consumers. Then Verizon will buy Sprint. Now down to two major carriers with many small regional carriers. And the beat goes on.

    Check your dictionary for ‘monopoly’. If AT&T does purchase T-Mobile it will not become a monopoly.

      1. Hi Joh_Doh,
        Nah, the AT&T/T-Moblie will not create a oligopoly. Not any more than any type of company that purchases another company. There are more than 300 cellular phone and PCS phone companies in the United States. Though AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are the largest, it does neither makes them a monopoly nor oligopoly.

        Remember, for many years AT&T has been sharing network infrastructure and resources. Combining the two will open even more opportunities.

        We can agree to disagree.

  6. If you watched the Senate and House hearings, you will know that AT&T has already stated that they can build out their 4G network without T-Mobile merger, it would just take a couple of years longer. Also, by buying T-Mobile, AT&T will only expand its nationwide footprint by a gigantic 1%. In rural areas, AT&T has been warehousing large chuncks of spectrum for years, so they really do not need T-Mobile as it will only provide them with a tiny bit more capacity in urban areas, but not provide them squat in rural areas. T-Mobile customers pay on average $20-$60 less per month than AT&T customers with same services. How is this good for consumer? T-Mobile was the enabler and promoter of Android in the US market, while AT&T was fat/dump/happy with Apple, so without T-Mobile taking a risk, Android would not be nearly as popular in US as it is now. So this demonstrates how consolidating stifles innovation and risk taking by eliminating another competitor. Now there will be only one GSM nationwide carrier in the US, so instead of having handset selections from two nationwide carriers, you will be forced to buy from one nationwide GSM carrier. So this limits choice to the consumer. This will cost over 30K jobs some analysts predict as the merger would require duplicate functions to be consolidated. Also, T-Mobile independent store owners are already starting to flee as they know their days are numbered if there is an AT&T store within a couple of miles. There are 3,100 T-Mobile stores across the US, and 41% of these are within one mile of an AT&T store, which store do you think will get closed down? Many on Wall Street have valued T-Mobile at about $25 billion, why did AT&T spend $39 billion? This is because they are desparate, Sprint and Verizon have a big 4G lead and AT&T has greatly neglected their network for years (ie. most dropped calls worst service check Consumer Reports or any other survey done in last 3 years) and just now has started running commercials non-stop to decieve the public into thinking they have always been greatly expanding their network. This is all a lie. They have huge chunks of spectrum that they have just been sitting on for years, they could have built out towers in rural areas to cover those 97%. Oh, before I forget, AT&T ranks last in customer service according to all the surveys, and T-Mobile finishes at the top, so this is just another example of how this will hurt the consumer. Also, after mergers are passed, customer service always gets worst, so this will be another anti-consumer impact of this merger. Finally, the $25 billion in cash that AT&T is giving Germany (T-Mobile) would be much better spent on US jobs and helping the economy.

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