AT&T, T-Mobile take first steps toward deal approval

The companies filed a request with the FCC to transfer T-Mobile's spectrum to AT&T

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday received a request to transfer T-Mobile's licenses to AT&T, one of the first steps the companies are making in the potentially lengthy approval process of AT&T's proposed acquisition of the smaller operator.

AT&T and T-Mobile announced the US$39 billion acquisition in March, saying the deal could take a year to complete. It faces reviews by the FCC and the Department of Justice. AT&T has said it may have to spin off some assets as a condition of approval.

By requesting to transfer T-Mobile's licenses to AT&T, the companies kick off the FCC's review of the deal. The FCC will consider whether combining AT&T's and T-Mobile's wireless licenses will comply with the agency's regulations. The FCC will also consider how combining the licenses will affect competition.

In the filing, AT&T, the second-largest operator, and T-Mobile are portrayed as facing significant challenges without being able to combine. T-Mobile has "declining market shares and no clear path to Long Term Evolution (LTE), the gold standard for advanced mobile broadband services," the companies wrote.

"AT&T faces network spectrum and capacity constraints more severe than those of any other wireless provider, and this merger provides by far the surest, fastest, and most efficient solution to that challenge," they said.

They go on to assert that the agreement will benefit consumers by reducing the number of dropped calls, boosting data speeds and expanding the deployment of next-generation technologies.

Others don't agree. Sprint , which has been one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed acquisition, released another statement against the plan in response to the filing with the FCC. "It is an indisputable fact that this takeover would create an entrenched duopoly with control of approximately 80 percent of wireless industry revenues," said Vonya McCann, senior vice president of government affairs at Sprint. "This kind of leverage could strangle competition and give AT&T the power to increase prices, threaten innovation critical to this industry and eliminate American jobs."

Sprint believes that the FCC should reject the deal outright. "This proposed takeover cannot be fixed with conditions or divestitures," McCann said.

If the deal does go through, AT&T would dominate the mobile market, dwarfing Sprint. Sprint has been speaking out against the deal since it was first announced.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags business issuestelecommunicationMergers / acquisitionsat&tmobilegovernmentT-Mobile USA

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?