Days after a leaked letter from an AT&T lawyer called into question the LTE expansion plans for the wireless carrier, the Federal Communications Commission has now formally asked AT&T to provide more information about AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile. The Wall Street Journal reports that the request comes after that leaked memo indicated that AT&T could expand its faster LTE network for a price that is far cheaper than the $39 billion it claims it needs to buy T-Mobile.
The leaked letter would seem to suggest that, rather than AT&T needing T-Mobile to expand its LTE network as it claims it does, the real reason for the merger is to eliminate the nation's fourth biggest wireless carrier in order to eliminate competition. It also suggests that AT&T is also willing to spend a premium to make that happen.
For its part, an AT&T spokesperson said that the FCC's request for more information is normal in investigating this kind of merger. The spokesperson added, "We look forward to providing the commission with this additional information, which will further confirm that we would not be able to deliver 4G LTE to 55 million more Americans without our merger with T-Mobile." A number of organizations, as well as the nation's third largest wireless carrier Sprint, have objected to the AT&T-T-Mobile merger on anti-trust grounds. The merger may take several more months to go through the approval process by the FCC and the Department of Justice. That means the merger, if approved, may take a long time before it's officially closed.