Following today’s reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a complaint opposing the $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T, the big blue carrier has issued a response stating plans to ask for an expedited hearing “so that the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed.”
The DOJ cites antitrust issues in its complaint, saying “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market.”
Though FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says that the review process is not yet complete, this is still another large obstacle for AT&T and T-Mobile in their road to matrimony. Should this prove too large an obstacle to overcome, AT&T will have to pay T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom upwards of $6 billion. In other words, AT&T isn’t having the best day.
The following is a statement provided by Wayne Watts, AT&T senior executive VP and general counsel:
We are surprised and disappointed by today’s action, particularly since we have met repeatedly with the Department of Justice and there was no indication from the DOJ that this action was being contemplated. We plan to ask for an expedited hearing so the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed. The DOJ has the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive affects and we intend to vigorously contest this matter in court.
At the end of the day, we believe facts will guide any final decision and the facts are clear. This merger will:
- Help solve our nation’s spectrum exhaust situation and improve wireless service for millions.
- Allow AT&T to expand 4G mobile broadband to another 55 million Americans, or 97% of the population.
- Result in billions of additional investment and tens of thousands of jobs, at a time when our nation needs them most.
We remain confident that this merger is in the best interest of consumers and our country, and the facts will prevail in court.