AT&T merger with T-mobile countdown restarted
AT&T&T-mobile mobezilla now to birth next year
The FCC has restarted the review process looking at the impact of AT&T's merger with T-Mobile USA, which should now complete in early December if nothing else goes wrong.
The review was started in April, and was supposed to take 180 days, but the FCC halted the countdown on day 83 to provide AT&T with more time to submit its arguments. AT&T has now apparently provided "new models to bolster its arguments" and the clock has restarted with just enough time to allow a ruling before the end of the year.
At risk is the $39bn deal for T-Mobile USA to merge with AT&T, creating a US network operator that would dwarf the competition. The arguments in favour talk about efficiencies of scale leading to cheaper and better services, while those against worry about the threat of monopoly and market control.
AT&T has submitted reams of evidence and has already been asked to justify its assumptions and model construction, including specific details which were requested earlier this month.
Those details are now apparently in the FCC's hands, and so the process can continue.
Such stoppages aren't rare, and this is a very important deal – and therefore worthy of careful consideration. The 180-day clock is not enforced, so the FCC could take longer, but that would be unusual as it is to the benefit of all parties involved to have a timetable by which to operate.
That should put the decision in December, but AT&T told The New York Times that it didn't expect the whole process to complete until early next year, when all the government departments will have seen the merits of the merger. ®
Dear US users....
You will see this go through around Xmas... so most news places won't report much on it, because everyone is off, having xmas parties.
Gimp icon, because that's what US consumers are about to become.
At least you have the rest of the year to stock up on lube.
"The arguments in favour talk about efficiencies of scale leading to cheaper and better services..."
Let's take these two claims and examine them, eh?
1. [Efficiencies of scale] - These two companies compete for the same market share and have fully redundant operations. On face value, it appears that this claim works, if the majority of one carriers staff gets sacked and the remainder work harder for the same money. However, in this economy, approving the sacking of the majority of T-Mobile (you didn't think that AT&T was the redundant player in this equation did you?) employees appears badly short sighted (I suspect that is the reason for the delay -- can't have massive layoffs during an election year). So call this one TRUE, but also A BAD DEAL for everyone but the top brass and investors.
2. [Cheaper and Better services] - okay, 2 ways to look at this. Historically, reduction in competition always leads to higher prices and less innovation. So historically, this is not true.
If either of these companies currently had plans or was able to offer cheaper and better services, they would do so in a heart beat to gain market share and reap the benefits. So, logically, this is not true. I would also stipulate that in this modern era, anything that reduces costs is absorbed by bonuses and investor payouts, never to be seen by consumers (seriously, when did the North American consumer in Telecommunications last see a true rate cut?)
I also think the spectrum acquisition for improved service has been hung, drawn and quartered.
If the FCC votes to allow this, the public will once again be taking our turn in the Pillory of Greed. I can almost feel the campaign contributions flowing as we speak.
Feignin due dilligence
It's simply one of the many stops on the rubber stamp of good faith train. The government's going to come in, put on their dog and pony show to appease John Q Idiot, then give the deal its seal of approval.
That's how these things work. Expect the merger to pass through within a year or less.