Will The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Create Jobs? (Update)

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There have been plenty of questions over whether or not the proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T is in the public interest. We’ve heard from competitors, senators, attorneys generals, and even the DOJ, who formally filed a complaint in federal court saying that “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low-priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market.” Today, it’s the FCC who’s asking the questions, and it seems AT&T has been avoiding them.

According to GigaOm, the FCC sent a letter to AT&T today asking for clarification on the number of jobs AT&T promised the merger would yield. The letter mentions that AT&T has yet to fully respond to the question of how consolidation of two companies into one would create more jobs.

“Our review of the information currently in our record suggest that AT&T’s responses on this issue remain incomplete. Indeed, AT&T to date has produced almost nothing in response to Question 36,” read the letter from the FCC.

One of the greatest critics of the merger, Sprint, recently commissioned a study that aims to deconstruct AT&T’s argument for job creation through the merger. However, AT&T snapped back at that study quickly, calling it “woefully flawed.” In truth, both have quite a bit to gain by casting this deal in a certain light, so we’ll just take their claims with a hefty helping of salt.

Update: AT&T has also filed a letter with the FCC, which mentions that “AT&T is aware that the Commission has requested additional information about the job-related effects of the transaction. AT&T intends to respond fully to that request. In the meantime, AT&T submits the instant letter in response to the filings by Public Knowledge and Free Press discussed below.”

The following is another excerpt from AT&T’s letter to the FCC:

In the process, the merger will spur billions of dollars in additional investment, create thousands of jobs, and significantly narrow the digital divide while advancing the Administration’s rural broadband objectives – all of which will aid the nation’s economic recovery and future economic strength without the expenditure of public funds. On top of that, AT&T has made significant job commitments, including our commitment to make a job offer guarantee available to existing T-Mobile USA non-management employees, our commitment to retain the two companies’ U.S. call center employees, and our commitment to bring 5,000 call center jobs back to the U.S.