Feeds

FCC slips dagger into AT&T, T-Mobile merger

'AT&T's thousands of jobs claim? Pure codswallop!'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The US Federal Communications Commission has thrown a major stumbling block in the way of AT&T's proposed $39bn acquisition of T-Mobile by taking the unusual step of requesting an administrative hearing on the merger.

Such administrative hearings are rare, and as The Wall Street Journal points out, the last time such a step was taken – when EchoStar and DirecTV attempted to merge in 2002 – the two companies eventually threw in the towel.

The FCC's move is the "two" of an Obama administration one-two punch against the deal, coming as it does after the US Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit in late August to block the merger.

According to IDG News, FCC staffers say that the deal would be anticompetitive and not in the public interest.

The FCC officials, speaking at a press briefing, also took issue with AT&T's claims that the merger would create thousands of new jobs, saying that it would instead lead to "massive" layoffs – which, of course, is a common result for such mergers.

Surprising no one, AT&T also used the "j-word" in its response to the FCC move. "It is yet another example of a government agency acting to prevent billions in new investment and the creation of many thousands of new jobs at a time when the US economy desperately needs both," AT&T's top mouthpiece Larry Solomon said in a statement.

Open-internet group Public Knowledge, which has vocally opposed the merger, was understandably tickled pink at the FCC's move. "Public Knowledge has argued for this course of action ever since the DoJ filed ... and the FCC should be commended for taking this action," that organization senior staff attorney John Bergmayer wrote in a statement.

"The FCC isn't doing this because Public Knowledge, our public interest allies, and prominent industry voices have asked it to," Bergmayer added. "It's the right thing to do, given how strong the evidence against the merger is, and how flimsy and self-serving AT&T's arguments are for it."

Although the request for the administrative hearing came in a draft order signed by chairman Julius Genachowski, that order must still be approved – or amended – by the full commission. However, seeing as how one of the two Republicans seats on the committee was recently vacated when commissioner Meredith Baker resigned earlier this year to become an NBC lobbyist, the Democratic three-to-one majority is a good bet to approve the request.

The administrative hearing would be held after the DoJ's antitrust trial is completed. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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
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
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
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
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
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.