FCC Asks AT&T To Explain Discrepancy Over Claimed Need For T-Mobile vs. Internal Discussions

from the oops dept

A few weeks ago, AT&T accidentally revealed that it had a plan to cover 97% of the population with its 4G/LTE service. That’s a big deal, because a big part of the rationale for the T-Mobile merger was that it simply could not deliver that kind of coverage without the merger. AT&T has worked furiously since then to basically deny what the filing clearly stated. They’ve been doing so by trying to change around what basic words mean (which is kind of funny). However, it looks like they haven’t convinced one rather important player. The FCC is now asking for evidence that AT&T actually needs T-Mobile as it keeps claiming. It’s still pretty likely that this all gets approved, but it definitely has presented pretty clearly how the rationales being given for why this deal is “necessary” are hogwash. No one denies that it will be much easier for AT&T, but that’s not the same thing as necessary.

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Companies: at&t, t-mobile

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Comments on “FCC Asks AT&T To Explain Discrepancy Over Claimed Need For T-Mobile vs. Internal Discussions”

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15 Comments
Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“We need more competition in the mobile world, not less.”

It’s coming:

MetroPCS
Clearwire
Cox cable
Comcast
LightSquared
Dish Network
Leap / Cricket
Wi-Fi

The market does not need T-Mo to be competitive. Many new entrants are entering / about to enter / planning to enter. Many of the have already bought spectrum for $ billions.

Thomas (profile) says:

Of course it will get approved..

AT&T has paid way enough money in “campaign contributions” to politicians and “gifts” to the right people in regulatory agencies. T-Mobile, on the other hand, doesn’t have the money to fund (bribe) a defense.

Consumer voices will be ignored as well.

Wonder how many 10s of thousands will be unemployed once AT&T starts chopping redundant workers and departments.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Of course it will get approved..

Nope, they are for it. And parent company Deutsche Telekom is for it. They want to cash out, since T-Mo is performing poorly, and the future prospects aren’t that good.

The question facing policymakers should not be “do we want to approve this deal?” That implies we should have government meddle in deals, “approve” of whatever we do, and distort business unnecessarily.

The question should be “Is this deal detrimental enough to the state of competition in the industry that we should choose the strong and undesirable move of market interference in order to protect consumers?”

A case can be made for the second question on either side of the debate. But THAT should be the question.

Anonymous Coward says:

If the FCC approves this then it just proves to all of us with a brain how corrupt our own Government truly is.
We will need to do some serious Protests and make Sacrifices to win back the Government for the People.
I say that soon it is time for a Million Man March On Corruption in Washington.I will gladly go and get arrested and what will they do when a Million People Blockade the Senate !!!

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

I'm For The Deal

The above article shows that AT&T has overstated/exaggerated/lied about one of their arguments supporting the deal.

That’s not good, but it’s hardly news to me, nor was this particular claim of theirs even that credible to begin with. AT&T is making a variety of claims on the pro side of the deal, some true, some specious. The people on the con side of the deal are doing much the same. When has the beltway lobby circuit ever had a debate that was not thus?

The reason I support the deal is because I don’t like government market interference unless it is necessary (which it often is). I see a fairly competitive market, with many new competitors entering the market, and I see T-Mobile as a fading power.

Most people look at this deal by considering the T-Mo and the market of TODAY. Today, T-Mobile is arguably the best competitor out there. They offer lower pricing, a national network, competitive phones, and relatively good customer service. They have been, and remain today very important to competition in the US marketplace.

But what everyone seems to fail to consider (since they don’t spend their day analyzing telecom and predicting trends) is that the independent T-Mo is at an impasse. It is out of spectrum. This is why Deutsche Telekom wants to unload it. T-Mo is doing great in a 2G and 3G market, but has NO spectrum for 4G, and NO roadmap to be competitive in 3 years. It’s spectrum is completely full (unlike, say Sprint), and they did not win any more at the 700MHz auction.

In 3 years (if no merger), Sprint, MetroPCS, Verizon, AT&T, Clear, and others will all have 4G networks, and the latest and greatest phones running on them. T-Mo will be stuck offering the best 3G phones available (like bringing a knife to a gunfight). Sprint will use its excess spectrum to be more competitive and will become the low-price national competitor. T-Mo will be low price, but also low-quality because of the lack of 4G. MetroPCS and others will grow and remain the best priced packages, but will remain regional with national roaming.

Some of these companies will be increasingly significant:
MetroPCS
Clearwire
Cox cable
Comcast
LightSquared
Dish Network
Leap / Cricket
Wi-Fi (or some new technology)

They have all made serious moves towards entering or expanding in the wireless market.

So, tell me again why we need T-Mo to make the market competitive in 2013-2020?

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