FCC slams AT&T/T-Mobile merger proposal

AT&T's proposed $39 billion merger with T-Moble is in jeopardy. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission confirmed that it has allowed AT&T to formally withdraw its application to the FCC for the T-Mobile merger. However, the FCC wasn't done. It also issued a over 100 page report that was highly critical of the merger proposal.

In the report, the FCC gave a thumbs down to the idea of merging AT&T and T-Mobile, claiming that if it were to go through. " ... significant harms to competition are likely to result, primarily in the form of increased prices for consumers, reduced incentives for innovation and decreased consumer choice."

AT&T offered up its own statement on the FCC report, saying, "This report is not an order of the FCC and has never been voted on.  It is simply a staff draft that raises questions of fact that were to be addressed in an administrative hearing, a hearing which will not now take place.  It has no force or effect under law, which raises questions as to why the FCC would choose to release it.  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."

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that AT&T is making what may be a last ditch effort to save the merger with T-Mobile. Citing unnamed sources, the report states that AT&T could sell off T-Mobile's customer base and most of its wireless spectrum over to smaller rival Leap Wireless.

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OK, without getting your panties in a bunch over ATT and reducing competition, let me ask a very simple question.

T-mobile is owned by a FOREIGN investor. ALL reservations about ATT as a company and Service Provider aside, would you RATHER have an Asian, Canadian, European, or South American company OWN a company run independently in the USA.. *OR* have a home grown USA corporation OWN them?

Think before you answer. If ATT does not get approval to buy out T-Mobile.. and T-Mobile proves to be a failure, and they have to go bankrupt.. or eventually get merged with another company in another country.. What happens to the future of the company then? Do we know for CERTAIN they will keep T-Mobile competitive?

NO WE don't. That's what I say ATT buying T-Mobile is a good idea, AT LEAST T-Mobile is kept in the USA (THINK: Jobs, no guarantee if some OTHER investor buys them, service, if you have T-Mobile now, how are you going to feel once some OTHER company buys them, that is NOT a USA corporation).

If you don't CARE then fine, we may as well ALL just sell out then. I care, I PREFER ATT at LEAST keep it in USA, so before you say F* YOU to ATT, THINK about the future of corporations.

If you are under the age of 25, you may not care NOW but in 5, 10 years you WILL care because you complained about ATT, but later you will discover that allowing T-Mobile to be put in control of foreign investors is a bad IDEA.

Hint: trade deficit, look it up. Educate yourself, and find out what our CURRENT Trade Deficit is and why it's bad for the economy.. THINK!

ir0nw0lf said,
Wow, the FCC actually has balls? Shocking news that LOL.

I don't think you read the report.. ATT Voluntarily withdrew to restructure the DEAL, FCC complained, but they did NOT reject the buy out. Besides which ATT counter complain is FCC has NO say in the matter, the Justice Department does, FCC mandates HOW companies operates.. READ next time, don't jump to conclusions. That's why ATT argued in writing FCC has no basis because it's NOT their decision to make.

i moved from sprint to AT&T and im quite happy with the service .. did i want the merger to happen HELL NO ! was/is a bad idea . my service has been great call and data speeds are much better compared to sprints overloaded bogged down network .

do i think sprint will buy them .... lol no sprint bleeds money

The biggest problem is what is going to happen to T-Mobile now? Their parent company is anxious to get rid of the US branch, so they have to find SOMEONE to buy it. Like it or not, AT&T is the only other major GSM provider in the US, so a merger with them actually made some sense. The biggest technical problem with it was the difference in 3G frequencies. If one of the other carriers in the US were to buy T-Mobile, they would be stuck with supporting both GSM and CDMA. The next most logical course of action would be for a company like Net10 to buy them, since they already piggyback on T-Mobile towers in some areas (such as mine), and they already support both CDMA and GSM phones in different service areas.

roadwarrior said,
The biggest problem is what is going to happen to T-Mobile now? Their parent company is anxious to get rid of the US branch, so they have to find SOMEONE to buy it. Like it or not, AT&T is the only other major GSM provider in the US, so a merger with them actually made some sense. The biggest technical problem with it was the difference in 3G frequencies. If one of the other carriers in the US were to buy T-Mobile, they would be stuck with supporting both GSM and CDMA. The next most logical course of action would be for a company like Net10 to buy them, since they already piggyback on T-Mobile towers in some areas (such as mine), and they already support both CDMA and GSM phones in different service areas.

Wow awesome comment.. and that's why I say.. what is the Future of T-Mobile if NOT ATT, then who? ANOTHER european company? Are we going to simply let USA be owned and operated by the rest of the world, and we can't even decide our own fate?

As a T-Mobile customer, I'm happy to see things turning out this way being that I really dislike ATT and their prices, but at the same time I worry about the future of T-Mobile, I wonder how they will survive on their own, hopefully Sprint will buy them?

Ely said,
As a T-Mobile customer, I'm happy to see things turning out this way being that I really dislike ATT and their prices, but at the same time I worry about the future of T-Mobile, I wonder how they will survive on their own, hopefully Sprint will buy them?

Sprint's been bleeding for years. I don't think they could afford to buy anyone at this point. They need a cash infusion just to continue upgrading their network... Plus, they completely squandered their purchase of NexTel, so I'm not sure they would even do anything with T-Mobile... In fact, I'd honestly expect T-Mobile to outlive Sprint...

Estienne Taylor said,
Good for FCC. AT&T merger with T-Moble should be stopped. It creates unhealthy competition if it goes through.

Absolutely. I've been very critical of this since it was first announced. It does absolutely nothing good...

And the way AT&T handled this (And their claims) has made me dislike them even more...

I don't understand this unnecessary hatred toward AT&T. I have been a customer for over 10 years and have never had any issues with them.

Nexus69 said,
I don't understand this unnecessary hatred toward AT&T. I have been a customer for over 10 years and have never had any issues with them.

Well, people do tend to jump on bandwagons. But also, this is Ma Bell once again. Don't remember where I read it, but someone said that AT&T is like the T-2000; you can smash it into a million pieces, but eventually the pieces will liquify and rejoin to be just as powerful as before.

Also, I'm a T-Mobile customer and, like you, I'm quite happy with my service so I really don't want things to change. I don't really hate AT&T, myself, but I'm happy that this merger doesn't seem to be working out. I wouldn't say that there's a lack of competition between the cell phone companies in the US, but the way they compete doesn't seem to really benefit the consumer much.

Nexus69 said,
I don't understand this unnecessary hatred toward AT&T. I have been a customer for over 10 years and have never had any issues with them.
I think it depends on where you live. I've had plenty of problems with them and since the iPhone came out the problems have only gone up. I stopped using them years ago because of the problems but the bitter taste never left my mouth. They make all of these twisted claims on their commercials like "AT&T covers 97% of the population" which really means "we cover all of the major cities but if you live in any rural area then you're screwed". Thankfully I live in a major city but I work with people in rural areas that constantly complain (to me, the IT guy) with the worst case scenario of a guy who lives in Wyoming that has no coverage for nearly 30 miles from his home. Come on, that's just ridiculous!!

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Hope it explains why some of us have such disregard for AT&T. /rant

There are also the surveys of customer satisfaction where AT&T tends to rank last of the big 4 combined with past stories of how little AT&T invests in its infrastructure even though their profits have been quite strong. That plus the fact that AT&T accidentally leaked that they could improve their service for ~$6B to get the same effect as spending $39B acquiring T-Mobile also makes people not have so much faith in AT&T as well as despise the company.

Here's another PDF from the FCC that many could find interesting:
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021748060

dnast said,
There are also the surveys of customer satisfaction where AT&T tends to rank last of the big 4 combined with past stories of how little AT&T invests in its infrastructure even though their profits have been quite strong. That plus the fact that AT&T accidentally leaked that they could improve their service for ~$6B to get the same effect as spending $39B acquiring T-Mobile also makes people not have so much faith in AT&T as well as despise the company.

Here's another PDF from the FCC that many could find interesting:
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021748060

Exactly. AT&T increases their prices all the time, yet can't put a dime into their infrastructure. It's ridiculous. And there's a reason they're rated so low in surveys regularly. Their customer service is horrendous. I will never, ever, have AT&T service again.

And they really came off looking douchey with the claims that taking over T-Mobile was going to create x number of jobs and improve things in this way or that... It was all bogus.

Tim Dawg said,
They make all of these twisted claims on their commercials like "AT&T covers 97% of the population" which really means "we cover all of the major cities but if you live in any rural area then you're screwed".

I guess that depends a lot on where you live as well, because here in Mississippi, which is about as rural as you can get, AT&T has far better coverage (2G and 3G) than T-Mobile, no matter if you are in a big city or in the middle of nowhere. I have phones on both so I can easily compare signal levels between the two, and it is no comparison: AT&T beats T-Mobile around here in just about every location. I was actually looking forward to the merger so my T-Mobile phone might get a little more use.

roadwarrior said,

I guess that depends a lot on where you live as well, because here in Mississippi, which is about as rural as you can get, AT&T has far better coverage (2G and 3G) than T-Mobile, no matter if you are in a big city or in the middle of nowhere. I have phones on both so I can easily compare signal levels between the two, and it is no comparison: AT&T beats T-Mobile around here in just about every location. I was actually looking forward to the merger so my T-Mobile phone might get a little more use.

People have one bad experience and bash a company. If I did that I would never shop anywhere and be a gnome because at some point I got a bad taste from every company I came into contact with. With that being said, what cellular company isn't raising rates? Be realistic. We want more speed, features, who's going to pay for it. Its a priveleage to have a cell phone, not a right. I went to Montana recently and they are heavy on promoting Verizon. We drove to west Yellowstone and none of my family had coverage, I was on a quick conference call, emailing, and attaching documents while being on 4G. They are anxiously waiting for their Verizon contracts to expire so they can switch. People need to choose what carrier suits their needs better, what has better coverage in the area they are in and leave it that. I was actually looking forward to the merger as it would bring better coverage and technology quicker to our network.

roadwarrior said,

I guess that depends a lot on where you live as well, because here in Mississippi, which is about as rural as you can get, AT&T has far better coverage (2G and 3G) than T-Mobile, no matter if you are in a big city or in the middle of nowhere. I have phones on both so I can easily compare signal levels between the two, and it is no comparison: AT&T beats T-Mobile around here in just about every location. I was actually looking forward to the merger so my T-Mobile phone might get a little more use.

I also live in Mississippi (in a small town near Hattiesburg) and AT&T is horrible here unless you are in a bigger city like Hattiesburg, which seems all they care about. CSPIRE and Verizon is the only carrier that actually works in these small towns. Which baffles me that Verizon can pick up here, but AT&T cannot.

Mike Allen said,

I also live in Mississippi (in a small town near Hattiesburg) and AT&T is horrible here unless you are in a bigger city like Hattiesburg, which seems all they care about. CSPIRE and Verizon is the only carrier that actually works in these small towns. Which baffles me that Verizon can pick up here, but AT&T cannot.


I'm in Jackson right now, but my family lives out in the country on the coast, and they have great signal there, and I pass through your area quite often (admittedly, mostly on Hwy 49 and 98) and usually have good signal on AT&T everywhere except one small stretch on 98. T-Mobile, however, is ****ing horrible when you get more than 1/2 mile off of any interstate. I just dropped them yesterday for Cspire (my wife already had a phone with Cspire, and their coverage here is excellent). I had a small part in making Cspire (well, Cellular South at the time) as good as it is. I worked with them a few years back riding around in the back of a van with a bunch of test equipment mapping signal levels and helping them calibrate the towers.

roadwarrior said,

I'm in Jackson right now, but my family lives out in the country on the coast, and they have great signal there, and I pass through your area quite often (admittedly, mostly on Hwy 49 and 98) and usually have good signal on AT&T everywhere except one small stretch on 98. T-Mobile, however, is ****ing horrible when you get more than 1/2 mile off of any interstate. I just dropped them yesterday for Cspire (my wife already had a phone with Cspire, and their coverage here is excellent). I had a small part in making Cspire (well, Cellular South at the time) as good as it is. I worked with them a few years back riding around in the back of a van with a bunch of test equipment mapping signal levels and helping them calibrate the towers.

Yes C Spire has always been satisfactory. I've read they plan to upgrade to 4G LTE soon. I don't know anyone that has T Mobile around here.

Mike Allen said,

I hate them that much.

Same here. And for them to claim that this would do anything but hurt competition was a joke. And as they are allegedly considering selling off large chunks of T-Mobile (and possibly their entire customer base and spectrum if this article is to be believed), it just makes it more and more evident that this was all about eliminating a competitor... Nothing more.