West Virginia is the third state where regulators have officially signed off on the $39 billion mega-merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. The Mountain States Public Service Commission joins Arizona and Louisiana in giving their go-ahead.
The commission believes that the transaction will not adversely impact competition or have other adverse impact on this state,” the commission wrote.
That opinion is the opposite of the one shared by most of the wireless giants competitors, some Democrats on Capitol Hill and others who fear competition will, in fact, be harmed by what could be viewed as a wireless duopoly (the combined AT&T-T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless). Part of the reason is that the wireless giants already have many exclusive smartphone contracts, making it difficult for smaller players to compete and that might get even more challenging with less competition at the top. If approved, 80 percent of wireless contracts in the U.S. would be controlled by AT&T-T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
While final approval will come down to the federal government, states do have the right to slap their own conditions on the deal. For example, many states strong-armed CenturyLink into spending millions of dollars on broadband infrastructure within their borders before giving their nod.