CCIA’s Response to News AT&T Withdraws Bid to Takeover T-Mobile

BY CCIA Staff
December 19, 2011

AT&T’s CEO has confirmed the company has decided to withdraw its plan to takeover competitor T-Mobile. The move comes after the Department of Justice sued to block the deal as it violated antitrust laws and the FCC released its findings that the deal would raise consumer mobile phone and Internet prices and reduce jobs.
For nearly 40 years, the Computer & Communications Industry Association has been a voice against anti-competitive behavior by dominant companies and an advocate for a more competitive marketplace.
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA’s President and CEO Ed Black:
“When AT&T announced this takeover plan, most antitrust attorneys knew this would violate the laws set up to maintain a competitive marketplace. AT&T was clearly counting on its political muscle and influence conglomerate to tilt the system’s decision makers in their favor and to shy away from vigorous enforcement of the law.  For once the 99% have reason to be pleased that the most entrenched special interest didn’t win.
“The Department of Justice, FCC, and the Obama Administration deserve praise for standing up to an awesome political assault from influence peddlers and the various groups heavily encouraged or threatened to support this takeover merger. The FCC was willing to sift through exaggerated claims about spectrum and jobs, find the truth and protect consumers. Justice Department attorneys were willing to fight to implement antitrust law – despite so much pressure to look the other way.
“The merging of the second and fourth largest wireless carriers would have resulted in an irreparable blow to competition and innovation, and been harmful to consumers in many ways. The blocking of this deal is a reminder that antitrust law, appropriately applied, can be an important tool in the government’s tool chest for keeping a competitive, dynamic economy.
“Part of what likely led to the Justice Department blocking the deal was the loss of an innovative, maverick competitor like T-Mobile that managed to continue to roll out new technology even while this deal was being debated. We would hope a company the size of AT&T would make greater efforts to grow and compete by innovating internally – rather than gobbling up other companies who are leading innovation.
“We would also hope that AT&T’s commitment to build out wireless service is remembered.  This case showed they could do it for a fraction of the cost of acquiring T-Mobile.  Also, there is little reason to think that the foreign outsourced jobs that were promised to be brought back to the domestic economy were really related to the deal, and they should be returned promptly.
“We do agree with AT&T and most others in the industry that more spectrum is an issue.   We hope the FCC will find ways to add spectrum through auctions and innovative proposals for spectrum that keep the value of competition at the forefront. The AT&T deal illustrated problems like interoperability, roaming and spectrum remain in the wireless market.  We hope the FCC continues to take steps to improve competition, which will spur innovation.”

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