Feeds

FCC launches AT&T T-Mobile review

Gentlemen, start your lawyers, lobbyists, spinmeisters, arm-twisters...

Top three mobile application threats

The US Federal Communications Commission has begun the formal process of reviewing the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T.

The FCC on Thursday issued a Public Notice announcing that it had opened a docket on the matter, and issued a Protective Order outlining "procedures to limit access to proprietary or confidential information that may be filed in this proceeding."

Considering the power and money involved in an acquisition of this magnitude – on March 20, AT&T announced that it had agreed to acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom in a $39bn deal – you can be sure that reams of documents, testimony, and opinion will be filed.

Accompanying the announcement of the pending acquisition, AT&T chairman and chief executive Randall Stephenson said: "This transaction delivers significant customer, share owner and public benefits that are available at this level only from the combination of these two companies with complementary network technologies, spectrum positions and operations."

Reaction was swift:

  • An unnamed FCC official told The Wall Street Journal: "There's no way the [FCC] chairman's office rubber-stamps this transaction. It will be a steep climb to say the least."
  • New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said his office would carry out its own review of the proposed deal, saying: "The last thing New Yorkers need during these difficult economic times is to see cell phone prices rise."
  • Sprint Nextel's senior vice president for Governmental Affairs Vonya McCann raised that wireless carrier's objections, saying: "Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition. This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it."
  • The president of the Communication Workers of America, Larry Cohen, voiced his support for the merger, saying: "Hundreds of [T-Mobile union] members in the US will welcome this news since of all the possible partners, AT&T will mean better employment security and a management record of full neutrality toward union membership and a bargaining voice."

Cnet reports that during a press conference on Thursday the FCC explained its review would have two main thrusts. It will first determine whether the deal runs counter to either the US Communications Act – the guiding legislation – or FCC rules. It will then determine if the proposed acquisition is in the public interest.

That somewhat amorphous concept – the "public interest" – is a highly debateable term, especially in these days of growing corporate power, a divided Congress, an embattled FCC, and an administration that, quite frankly, has bigger battles on its hands as it engages in budgetary warfare with an emboldened opposition.

In the increasingly surrealistic environs of the US Congress, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, will hold its own hearings on the proposed merger on May 11.

The title of that event: "The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?" ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.