AT&T Chief: Dead T-Mobile Deal To Lead to Higher Prices

U.S. regulators last year maintained AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition would result in higher prices for wireless subscribers.

AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson agreed prices will rise for consumers, but he maintained it’s because the deal was killed, The Wall Street Journal reported, after Stephenson spoke at the Milken Institute’s annual global conference. He said AT&T’s data prices have climbed 30 percent since the deal was quashed, the newspaper reported.

Stephenson also predicted the market can’t sustain the current number of wireless providers because there is insufficient spectrum.

“The more competitors you have, the less efficient the allocation of spectrum,” the Journal quoted Stephenson. “It’s got to change. I don’t think the market’s going to accommodate the number of competitors there are in the landscape.”

AT&T’s acquisition of then struggling T-Mobile USA would have made it the biggest U.S. wireless provider. Critics expressed concern the merger would have resulted in the concentration of too much power among AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the current No. 1. To Stephenson’s chagrin, the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice agreed with the merger’s opponents.

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