California may scrutinize AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

California may now be involving itself in the AT&T and T-Mobile merger that is slated to occur pending regulatory approval. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has not launched an official investigation, but may do so soon. Staff at the Commission requested information giving directions on the merger. The document refers to a letter sent to the Commission by AT&T earlier in May.

The letter sent by AT&T, under normal circumstances, would have been satisfactory to the Commission. The Commission, however, took a vote on May 26, and agreed that it would give the staff further direction. CPUC can now do one of three things:

  1. Direct staff to notify AT&T that it must file an application because it is in the public’s interest for CPUC to review the merger.
  2. Direct staff to notify AT&T that no application is deemed to be necessary.
  3. Direct the staff to notify AT&T that the Commission considers the recent data requests for information on the merger as stopping the 30-day time period until further notice. This means that the merger would not be pre-approved after the 30 days have passed.

Sprint must be happy about these latest developments. Sprint has appealed in the past regarding the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. It should be interesting to see what the California regulators do next. 

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