Last updated: June 13, 2011 - 11:10am
AT&T has hinted that it may delay extending its next-generation telecom network to more than 50 million Americans if regulators block its acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
The largest US telecommunications group on June 10 responded to criticism of its proposed $39bn deal with Deutsche Telekom for T-Mobile with a 235-page submission to the Federal Communications Commission, which is reviewing the transaction. In the filing, AT&T said that the FCC cannot “simply assume” that if the merger were blocked that it would still deploy a 4G network based on Long Term Evolution, or LTE, technology to 97 per cent of the population. It indicated that it had originally planned to extend the network to just cover 80 per cent of the population by the end of 2013. It plans to begin rolling out the service in five cities this summer. AT&T said in the filing that the deal has “drawn unprecedented support from across the political, social and commercial landscape.” AT&T’s FCC filing emphasized what it described as “the overarching imperative that drives this transaction: giving AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers the network capacity they need to enjoy the full promise of the mobile broadband revolution.” AT&T has argued that the deal would address spectrum shortages faced by AT&T’s mobile unit and enable the company to improve call quality in densely populated urban areas.
“The synergies of this transaction will create immense new capacity that will provide enormous benefits to consumers,” the company said. “That new capacity will provide a more robust platform for the next generation of bandwidth-intensive mobile applications while improving consumers’ overall service quality through faster data speeds and fewer dropped and blocked calls. In the process it will create jobs and investment, help bridge the digital divide and help achieve the administration’s rural broadband objectives, all without the expenditure of government funds.”