FCC riles AT&T by releasing report on T-Mobile merger
AT&T said the report, which disputes the benefits of the merger, should not have been released
IDG News Service - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has allowed AT&T to withdraw its application to buy the mobile licenses owned by T-Mobile USA, as AT&T had requested, but the agency has also released a staff report that disputes many of the benefits the two mobile carriers claimed the merger would produce.
AT&T and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom withdrew their application to the FCC to transfer the mobile licenses after the agency announced on Nov. 22 that staff there had found the US$39 billion acquisition to be contrary to the public interest. The FCC on Tuesday granted the request to withdraw the license transfer application, but released the 157-page staff report on the merger despite opposition from AT&T.
AT&T and T-Mobile "have failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that the competitive harms that would result from the proposed transaction are outweighed by the claimed benefits," the staff report said. "The potential loss [of T-Mobile as a] competitive force in the market is a cause for serious concern."
The public and groups with interest in the merger have a right to see the staff report, said FCC officials who asked not to be named.
A request by merger opponents Public Knowledge and the Media Access Project for the FCC to release the staff report "would be unprecedented and have far-reaching effects on the future functioning of the FCC," Richard Wiley, a lawyer representing AT&T and a former FCC chairman, wrote in a letter to the agency before the report was released.
"We noted that the applications in this docket have been withdrawn and there is no transaction before the FCC for review," Wiley added. "Releasing staff workproduct [sic] concerning a matter no longer before the Commission would be unprecedented. In this case, the workproduct is highly deliberative in nature as it is a draft for consideration by the Commissioners ... This workproduct would in no way constitute official findings of the Commission."
AT&T called the release of the report "troubling." The report is an internal document meant to raise questions before a hearing before an administrative law judge, the company said. The next step for the FCC would have been an administrative hearing if AT&T had continued to pursue the license transfer application.
"This report is not an order of the FCC and has never been voted on," Jim Cicconi, AT&T's senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, said in a statement. "The draft report has also not been made available to AT&T prior to today, so we have had no opportunity to address or rebut its claims, which makes its release all the more improper."
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!