U.S. DOJ won’t explain decision to challenge AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA

“The U.S. Justice Department will not hold a briefing for lawmakers to explain its decision to challenge AT&T Inc’s purchase of Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA,” Jasmin Melvin reports for Reuters.

“Melvin reports.In a letter sent on Monday to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, the Justice Department said it could not disclose nonpublic information about a matter in active litigation,” Melvin reports. “Top Republicans in the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier in the month requested a bipartisan briefing with DOJ and the FCC on what went into the decision to challenge the merger and whether the agencies had considered the impact on jobs and economic growth.”

Melvin reports, “Sharing information outside of the judicial process creates ‘the risk that the public and the courts will perceive undue political and Congressional influence over litigation decisions,’ Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said in the letter.”

Read more in the full article here.

20 Comments

    1. Yep, transparently corrupt.

      The asinine thing is, this fear about there not being enough cell networks is a direct result of the FCC auctioning spectrum only allowing 3 networks per metropolitan area.

      Spread Spectrum technology means that hundreds of networks could operate in the same area, over the same frequencies without interference (its why WiFi works so well)…. but that wouldn’t bring in the big bucks.

      So, the whole near monopoly of only 3 major carriers is the creation of the federal government in the first place!

      AT&T buying T-Mobile would be consolidating a non-major carrier by a major one. There’d still be the three “majors” — Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.

      It is the FCC created the spectrum monopolies in the first place…. (each of the three has a monopoly on some of the spectrum. I’ve also simplified the situation a fair bit, but that’s essentially the case.)

  1. Non lawmaker explanation in English. “Because I said so!”

    It didn’t work when we were kids either. Think anyone is out of control here? A little to much power and not enough payoff?

  2. What amazes me in America is that even when the issue is so obviously clear (who in their right mind can argue that consolidating two massive telecom companies would create additional jobs??), American political polarisation forces people’s opinions one way or the other.

    Fortunately, judiciary does not need additional layer of approval by the politicians (congress/senate) to implement the laws already on the books. There still is a chance for this merger to be prevented.

    I’m just not quite clear, why cannot Deutsche Telekom just spin off T-Mobile as an independent US company, rather than having to find a buyer? After all, T-Mobile USA is quite profitable little carrier, so it shouldn’t be that hard.

    1. “Sharing information outside of the judicial process creates ‘the risk that the public and the courts will perceive undue political and Congressional influence over litigation decisions,’ Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said in the letter.”

      Oops. Really? Too late. It already did make us think of undue influence. Try again.

  3. i actually think that his Presidency has been transparent since his inauguration.

    Since AT&T mimics V and V mimics AT&T, for the most part-at least as far as pricing and plans go, they are still two very differently run Companies. So, I really don’t see the problem with the merger. What’s the harm in spending $39B to curtail development time rather than spend the money on an in-depth building-plan. Having this merger go through put AT&T in a better position to actually compete with V on depth of service in the form of penetration.

    Assuming does not come out with a 4G/LTE phone until next year, AT&T’s rollout should be more on par with V, especially if the merger is not blocked. I think Apple is making a smart move waiting until LTE is more equally built out. It would have been nice, however, to have had a 3.5G phone to allow AT&T customers to have use of its HSPA+ speeds.

    This could be BO’s final salvo in getting his way with not favoring big mergers. If he does not or cannot override any win by the DOJ and/or FCC, the sheer number of men and women without jobs that could be hired for the merger will be lost which would mean his desire to move the economy has been as hollow as he truly is.

    1. Digging through the political diatribe, I noticed:

      …”the sheer number of men and women without jobs that could be hired for the merger will be lost”…

      Am I to understand that this statement implies that if AT&T were to acquire T-Mobile, there would be more jobs??? How on Earth would that be?? So, in addition to duplication in almost every possible position (top management, middle management, lower management, sales, support, service, marketing, etc), the new AT&T would actually hire even MORE people??? Can someone explain to me how could this possibly happen, when throughout history, every merger of two large companies always resulted (logically) in loss of redundant workers?

      1. If you don’t understand how a merger of a lesser company to a larger one can facilitate future growth, then perhaps you should seek more reputable economic educational opportunities than website comment areas. And no, your TV viewing of Rachel Maddow or consumption of NPR news-o-tainment doesn’t count.

        Further… you half wit, what gives you or the DOJ any right in questioning how companies fire and hire employees?

        1. Well the law of the land gives the justice department the right and freedom of speech gives him the right. You can look it all up if you are confused about how it all works.

          So since you are the genius tell us how this benefits job creation and growth?

          Its going to cost jobs and limit the competition in the market is my viewpoint. My educational background on believing this is having went through three big mergers with 2 large companies and watching the wave of layoffs followed by poorer service, supply chain confusion, culture clashes and less R&D.

          I didn’t need a book or college course “build and sell widgets” braindead MBA playset to fit the pieces together personally.

  4. The U.S. Justice Dept. (aka Gestapo Jr.) doesn’t need no stinking briefings. They can do whatever they want, whether they have a reasonable explanation or not.

    I’m not saying that their opposition to the AT&T deal is a bad thing. Just saying that whatever explanation they might give would be a bunch of bull anyway. Whatever that reason is, you can be sure it has absolutely nothing to do with protecting consumers,

  5. The FCC and Justice Department are not advisory boards for Congress.

    Congress can read the decisions like everyone else.

    I would have thought that even dumb ass Congress members would be able to see how anti competitive and layoff producung such a merger would be.

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