AT&T Acquires T-Mobile USA For $39 Billion

Many have heard about the ATT and T-Mobile merger and the debate around it. Well it seems all this dispute has brought on new action from the FCC. They are now hitting up the other carriers for their opinions on the deal. Before we get to the details, let’s look at what has already happened briefly.

Sprint Nextel, along with thousands of consumers, had filed requests for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to block AT&T’s proposed acquisition of rival mobile carrier T-Mobile USA. The $39 billion acquisition would create a “Twin Bell duopoly,” giving AT&T and Verizon Communications a combined 82% of the mobile market in the country, Sprint said Tuesday. Approval of the acquisition would take the U.S. mobile market back to the 1980s, when only two carriers had mobile licenses in each area, Sprint said in its 377-page filing.

The FCC’s spectrum auctions that took place in the 1990s,”gave rise to Sprint, T-Mobile, and other wireless carriers, and ushered in an era of competition and growth that has greatly benefited consumers,” Sprint’s representatives wrote. “Wireless competition has sparked a technological revolution in broadband data services, applications and devices. The proposed transaction would turn back the clock on competition and innovation and bring this era of unprecedented wireless expansion and technological innovation to an abrupt, but avoidable, halt.”

The FCC has received more than 10,000 comments about the proposed merger, with many mobile customers submitting one-page form letters from media reform group Free Press in opposition to the deal. Sprint has opposed the deal since the companies first announced it back in March. The deal would merge the second largest mobile carrier in the U.S. with the fourth largest, creating a new leader.

AT&T has argued that it needs T-Mobile’s spectrum to keep up with growing demand for mobile broadband service. Sprint disputed that argument, saying AT&T already controls the most spectrum of any U.S. mobile carrier. AT&T is the “industry laggard” in deploying next-generation mobile broadband, a Sprint source was quoted saying.

These ongoing arguments have led to The FCC sending out a request to carriers asking them for information to help its investigation into the AT&T and T-Mobile deal. Verizon, Sprint, and regional carriers, such as Cellular South and US Cellular were all asked to provide responses to the proposed deal. Each got the same nine questions regarding coverage, cell site ownership, expansion, relationships with AT&T, their future spectrum plans, billing, and competitive reports. The carriers have been given a June 20th deadline, to get their responses filed.

FCC Questionnaire (PDF)

What are your thoughts on the merger?
How do you feel about the fact that the FCC is finally looking into it more?
Let me know your thoughts on all of this below.