A trio of House Democrats has asked Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a thorough and careful, but also expeditious review of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger. While they don't explicitly recommend rejecting the merger, they make their unhappiness with the prospect clear.
"We believe that AT&T's acquisition of T-MObile would a troubling backward step in federal public policy," they said, and a "retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace.
The letter came from Ed Markey (D-Mass.), former chair of the communications subcommittee, John Conyers (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Communications Subcommittee. Henry Waxman (D-calif.), ranking member on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, was not a signatory to the letter.
The legislators also say they think the deal would discourage investment and restrict innovation. AT&T and T Mobile argue it will do just the opposite.
The legislators ask the FCC and Justice to review the deal both for its impact on market structure and to vet AT&T's assertions that the merger will allow it to further the Obama administration and FCC goals of deploying high-speed mobile broadband, and whether that might be achievable without the merger.
More than 70 Democrats earlier signed on to a letter supporting the merger's proposed wireless deployment target.