AT&T to review options as FCC blocks AT&T T-Mobile merger

AT&T said that the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC)’s action to block the AT&T-T-Mobile merger
is disappointing.

It is an 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

“At this time, we are reviewing all
options,” said Larry Solomon, senior vice president of Corporate
Communications, AT&T.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA)
said the action by the FCC on the $39 billion AT&T/T-Mobile merger is a job
killer at a time of 9 percent unemployment.

“Our T-Mobile members know that the path to
secure jobs is through massive investment in a 4-G LTE network across America.
T-Mobile management has clearly stated that the company doesn’t have the scale
to justify that investment,” CWA said.

AT&T has promised to retain 23,000 call
center, retail and technical workers who now have no clear employment path.
Additionally, AT&T has committed to return 5,000 jobs to the U.S. from Asia
and invest $8 billion in new capital and broadband buildout.

The FCC’s decision relegates the issue of
good jobs to the bottom of the government’s priorities.

The FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, made
the move after the commission’s staff concluded that the deal would harm
consumers, kill jobs and result in an overly concentrated wireless phone
industry, according to a report in New York Times.

The decision puts another large roadblock
in front of AT&T, the nation’s second-largest wireless phone company, in
its effort to buy T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier. In August, the Justice
Department filed a federal antitrust lawsuit to block the merger, saying it
would stifle competition.

Genachowski on Tuesday notified the other
three F.C.C. commissioners that he intended to refer the proposed merger to an
administrative law judge for a trial-like hearing in which AT&T would be
required to show that the deal was in the public interest.” The commission,
currently composed of three Democrats, including Genachowski, and one
Republican, is likely to vote on the chairman’s plan in the next couple of

The merger is subject to F.C.C. approval
because the joining of the two companies will require transfer of licenses to
use public airwaves for cellphone signals and wireless Internet access. The
judge will weigh the evidence and render a decision, which then will be
reviewed by the F.C.C. for a final judgment.

A hearing before the administrative judge
would not happen until after the antitrust trial, scheduled for February in
United States District Court in Washington, is completed.

By Team
[email protected]