State Attorneys General Fail to Investigate AT&T's Spin

AGs ignore facts while cheering on competition-killing deal
Contact Info: 

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

WASHINGTON -- Late Wednesday, 11 state attorneys general asked the Department of Justice and the FCC to approve AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile USA with conditions necessary to protect competition and safeguard the public interest.

Unfortunately, the endorsement of these attorneys general appears to be based on AT&T's bogus claim that it won't deploy Long-Term Evolution (or "LTE") wireless broadband to more than 97 percent of the U.S. population without the deal. Their letter claimed also that the spectrum capacity AT&T would acquire in the deal is necessary to achieve this goal. As Free Press and other critics have showed time and again, these claims are nothing more than AT&T spin.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

"AT&T's merger push is based on nothing more than slick talking points, sleight of hand and outright deception. Its claims have fallen flat every time the public and their elected representatives have bothered to review the facts. Unfortunately, AT&T has succeeded in duping some people with empty rhetoric and emptier promises. The attorneys general signing this letter are the latest victims of AT&T's fact-free public relations campaign.

"These officials based their support for this takeover on AT&T's promises to deploy next-generation mobile services to 97 percent of the population. But AT&T already has promised to deploy 4G broadband services to that same percentage of the country by the end of 2012 — without any merger. Verizon plans to provide LTE to an even larger percentage of the nation in the next few years, too. AT&T will undoubtedly make the minimal investments needed to continue its upgrade and provide LTE nationwide, in order to compete with Verizon, retain market share and retain its ability to charge premium prices. But even if it didn't, 97 percent of the population will still have Verizon's LTE offering and AT&T's 4G broadband service available to them without this merger.

"Fortunately, the Department of Justice and FCC are taking a closer look at the evidence, and they surely won't be so easily fooled by AT&T's meaningless commitment. The facts are clear: This merger would do nothing but reduce competition and remove future incentives for providers to make timely investments — all while raising prices and cutting thousands of American jobs."

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