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AT&T Files FCC Statement in Support of Merger

AT&T refuses to let criticism of its acquisition of T-Mobile USA overshadow the benefits of the $39 billion deal.  

The telecommunications giant on Friday responded to opponents of the merger in a Federal Communications Commission statement supporting the transaction.

Our opponents arent really concerned about competition or prices,” said Wayne Watts, AT&Ts senior executive vice president and general counsel, commenting on the contents of the filing. The posturing of rivals such as Sprint is about one thing: their desire to compete against a capacity-constrained AT&T and a T-Mobile that has no clear path to LTE” the fourth-generation wireless technology that AT&T and Verizon Wireless are deploying across the nation.

AT&T reiterated that the merger will result in several benefits to the public, including enhanced network capacity that will enable the company to reach more than 97 percent of the U.S. population with a 4G wireless network. Thanks to the merger, AT&T said it will make an additional investment of roughly $8 billion to expand LTE and integrate the two companies networks.

AT&T noted that the merger has drawn support from the governors of 17 states, labor unions representing 20 million workers, minority and disability rights advocates, rural and environmental groups, venture capitalists and a broad swatch of high-tech companies ranging from Facebook to Microsoft.

Some critics contend the merger will create a duopoly” between AT&T and Verizon Wireless, resulting in fewer choices and higher prices. AT&T and Verizon would control 82 percent of post-paid subscribers and roughly 78 percent of all wireless revenues, according to Sprint Nextel in a filing with the FCC.

In a blog posting this week, an AT&T executive characterized claims of a duopoly as a myth.”

The truth is that a duopoly signifies a market with only two sellers, and that is a flatly inapt description of the post-transaction U.S. wireless marketplace,” AT&Ts Joan Marsh wrote. FCC data shows that today three-quarters of Americans have a choice of five or more wireless providers, so, at worst, after this merger they will have a choice of four.”


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