Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AT&T to FCC: Keep Our Acquisition Reviews Separate 04/27/2011 San Francisco - In response to today's filing to the FCC by a coalition of public interest groups, a spokesperson for AT&T (NYSE: T) says the company rejects outright the call for the Commission to merge the firm's two pending acquisition proceedings.   
An alliance of five public interest organizations this morning filed a letter with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to combine its review of AT&T's $39 billion takeover of competitor T-Mobile with the ongoing evaluation of AT&T's $1.9 billion spectrum purchase from Qualcomm.

The coalition, comprised of Free Press, Media Access Project, Public Knowledge, Consumers Union and the Open Technology Initiative of the New America Foundation, has previously submitted filings challenging each proposed acquisition by AT&T on its own merits.

AT&T Response
"These are two completely separate proceedings and should remain so," responded AT&T spokesperson Margaret Boles.

"The FCC has been fully briefed by all interested parties on our application to acquire spectrum from Qualcomm.  We are now at day 77 of the 180-day shot clock and we urge the Commission to expeditiously grant our application", concluded Ms. Boles, in answer to our inquiry about a company response to this morning's filing.

"Greater Harm" Seen
As we reported in March, the groups together had filed a formal petition to deny in the Qualcomm proceeding, arguing that AT&T already holds disproportionate market power and prime spectrum licenses.

In today's filing, the groups argue that even greater harm will be generated if AT&T is permitted to acquire T-Mobile, and they ask the FCC either to promptly deny the transfer of Qualcomm licenses or, at minimum, to consolidate the review of the two acquisitions.  

"Combined with the proposed transfer of Qualcomm spectrum licenses, approval of these transactions would further enable AT&T to suppress competition, stifle innovation and harm consumers. At a minimum, the FCC should combine its review of both the merger and license transfer in order to properly assess the joint impact of both transactions on the wireless market," concluded the joint statement. 

"The proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile would reshape the entire American wireless industry in a single stroke," the five groups said in a jointly issued statement of this morning.
Web Analytics