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Commissioner Copps on the Staff Report on the ATT TMobile Merge

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Released: November 29, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).



November 29, 2011

Joshua Cinelli




Given the overwhelming mass of competitive concerns raised in the Department of
Justice suit against the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T, and the possibly even
greater public interest harms identified in the FCC’s Staff Report, I welcome withdrawal of this
The competition concerns are well known and profound. A merged AT&T and T-Mobile
would vest approximately 75 percent of the mobile market in two sets of hands. That type of
consolidation—in a market already overly consolidated—deserves the close, hard look that our
FCC staff has given it. The Staff Report finds, in great and compelling detail, that the
transaction raises “significant competitive concerns” in the mobile market, and “substantial and
material” questions about its competitive effects on roaming, wholesale, and resale services,
backhaul, and handsets. The Staff Report further finds that the parties’ claim that this deal would
lead to lower prices is flawed and over-estimates the benefits that would be passed on to
This agency’s charge under the Communications Act is to look at not just the competitive
effects but also the broader public interest implications of an acquisition. Despite repeated
claims that this transaction will be a significant job creator, the staff, after thorough review,
could make no such finding. Here is something else worth highlighting: T-Mobile has built a
business model targeting budget-conscious consumers. With lower-income consumers
increasingly thinking of mobile as their only broadband service, and with no guarantee the new
entity will continue to serve this population, many consumers may find themselves priced right
out of broadband. That is not a direction the country can afford to go.
While I welcome withdrawal of this application, I would like to think we will no longer
be expending significant FCC resources to examine this paradigm-shifting and complex
transaction. I would hope the withdrawal is not a strategic gambit along the road to resubmission
of this or a similar application in the months ahead. That would not strike me as a good route to
travel. The significant resources the Commission has spent over these last seven months
analyzing this proposed acquisition—and so many other consolidations that have come our way
during my ten years here—would have been much better spent furthering the goals of
competition, consumer protection and the public interest.


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