Benton Foundation Opposes Proposed AT&T Acquisition of T-Mobile USA

After a review of the purported benefits and early analysis of the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T, the Benton Foundation urges the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to reject a deal that offers no public interest dividend.

First and foremost, the acquisition will combine the 2nd and 4th largest wireless carriers in the US. Undoubtedly, this combination will reduce competition in this market and will result in fewer choices for consumers, higher prices, and less innovation.

Moreover, the deal may inspire other mergers and acquisitions in the very interdependent telecommunications and technology sectors.

Second, although the Benton Foundation is a strong supporter of the National Broadband Plan and President Barack Obama's goal of bringing next-generation wireless broadband to 95% of the country, we do not see that this merger is necessary for either AT&T or the nation to reach this goal.

Finally, we have grave concerns that the deal will result in the loss of thousands of jobs around the country.

Benton urges federal policymakers -- including the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Congress -- to focus on making the broadband marketplace more competitive. As recommended in the National Broadband Plan, policymakers should make more spectrum available for existing and new wireless broadband providers in order to foster additional wireless-wireline competition at higher speed tiers.

The proposed AT&T|T-Mobile deal is a distraction from our long-term, national broadband goals.

By Charles Benton.