WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, AT&T formally filed its application with the Federal Communications Commission to transfer spectrum licenses from T-Mobile to AT&T, officially beginning the merger review process. Both the FCC and the Department of Justice will be charged with evaluating the proposed merger's potential harms to the wireless market and to consumers.
The proposed merger would further consolidate the national wireless market, leaving just three national carriers and giving Verizon and AT&T control of nearly 80 percent of the market leaving Sprint and smaller regional carriers at a further disadvantage.
Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:
“No matter how many high-priced lobbying firms AT&T hires, it won't be able to fool Americans into thinking the reconstitution of the Ma Bell monopoly is a good thing. Make no mistake, this deal is about eliminating a competitor and nothing more. AT&T has chosen the marketing slogan ‘Mobilize Everything’ to sell this competition-killing deal, but it's clear their real goal is to ‘Monopolize Everything.’
“This merger would cost jobs at a time when unemployment is still at record levels; it would result in higher prices and fewer choices for consumers; and it would stifle innovation and investment in the wireless market. AT&T is falling back on its tired claim that this merger would give it the opportunity to improve service and deployment of its wireless network, but the fact is AT&T doesn’t need to merge with anyone to remedy the problems it created for itself by chronically under-investing in its network. It's already sitting on plenty of unused spectrum, and it continues to earn record profits. It's simply a false choice to ask Americans to pay higher prices, endure poor customer service and sacrifice innovation in exchange for fulfilling deployment promises that AT&T has already made.
“If antitrust has any meaning left in America, then the FCC and the Department of Justice must find that a new national wireless duopoly will cause significant harm and must swiftly reject this unthinkable plan to restore Ma Bell.”