I have been sitting on this story for a while because I wanted to do a long piece about it. I'm just not going to get around to that.
The rumored breakup fee for the ATT-T-Mobile merger is like $6B. At that rate, Ma Bell will do anything to have this merger go through. Anything. Lobbying. Donating. Suing people. That's right, Ma Bell is counter-suing a law firm and its customers for suing AT&T over the merger. It's kind of ridiculous, but if customers don't speak up - in legal parlance litigate - then they don't get heard. And certainly the FTC, the FCC and the DOJ are only listening to lobbyists and CEO's - not consumers.
Allegedly in handing over discovery documents to both the DOJ and the FCC, Ma Bell delivered something in the order of 1 million documents. That's right swamped them with info. It's a legal tactic.
According to this source, " The FCC has informed AT&T that its acquisitions of the pretty-in-pink carrier will be reviewed together with AT&T's proposed purchase of Qualcomm's 700MHz spectrum. Rather than reviewing the sales separately, the FCC plans to informally join the two transactions."
I'm still hopeful that the FCC will do the right thing - like only cave in on 1 of the acquisitions. Hopeful but realistic that Ma Bell's ties to the government (specifically the NSA) means that these mergers will close.
"A partially-redacted letter allegedly sent from AT&T to the Federal Communications Commission suggests that the carrier is willing to pay $35 billion just to keep T-Mobile out of Sprint's hands.< br/> It argued that the combined entity would bring super-fast LTE broadband support to 97 percent of the country, rather than 80 percent without the merger. The merger would alleviate the spectrum crunch, meet America's voracious mobile broadband appetite, create jobs, and s[ir America's global competitiveness, AT&T said.
The cost of actually bringing 4G coverage from 80 to 97 percent is less than $4B!
So why buy T for 10x that at $39B??? Obviously, to take a player off the table.
Stacey at GigaOm has more about the mess here.
Forrester blogs about how this merger is like the US auto industry -- and we know how that worked out. Can you say bailout? Forrester also points out that all these mergers before the FCC and DOJ that are being approved result in HUGE job losses at a time when the economy and the White House need toadd jobs, not loss them! (One more reason to say NO!)
ATT has been gobbling up spectrum for months across the US to fill in gaps. How much spectrum do they get to have? Spectrum is a finite resource. It's public airwaves!
The ATT document is here in pdf.