Senate's Antitrust Chair Call to Block AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

AT&T's planned merger with T-Mobile may have hit a major roadblock, as on July 20, the chair of a Senate's Antitrust Subcommittee affairs voiced his opposition.Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), is calling for regulators to block the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile:"I have concluded that this acquisition, if permitted to proceed, would likely cause substantial […]

AT&T's planned merger with T-Mobile may have hit a major roadblock, as on July 20, the chair of a Senate's Antitrust Subcommittee affairs voiced his opposition.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), is calling for regulators to block the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile:

"I have concluded that this acquisition, if permitted to proceed, would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest, and therefore should be blocked by your agencies."

T-Mobile is the one remaining carrier offering lower priced rate plans, Kohl noted. In a letter to both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission, the Wisconsin Democrat asked for the merger to be blocked because it "would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest."

In a separate move, three Democratic House members, Edward Markey, John Conyers and Anna Eshoo, all expressed concerns with the deal and what they saw as growing consolidation in the wireless market.

"We believe that AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy-a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace," House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers, D-Mich., wrote in their letter to FCC and the Justice Department. "Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it."

AT&T responded with following statement:

"We respect Senator Kohl. However, we feel his view is inconsistent with antitrust law, is shared by few others, and ignores the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction. This is a decision that will be made by the Department of Justice and the FCC under applicable law and after a full and fair examination of the facts. We continue to believe those reviews will result in approval of this transaction."