House Panel to Review Telecom Mergers


A House committee is planning a hearing Wednesday on three recently announced telecommunications mergers with an emphasis on whether technology is driving the latest round of consolidation.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee intends to review the $35 billion wireless-phone deal between Nextel Communications Corp. and Sprint Corp.; SBC Communications Inc.’s $16 billion takeover of long-distance carrier AT&T Corp; and Verizon Communications’ $7 billion deal to acquire troubled long-distance provider MCI Inc.

SBC chairman and CEO Edward Whitacre is scheduled to testify on the first panel, as are the CEOs from the other five companies.

Qwest Communications International Inc. CEO Richard Notebaert, who is trying to lure MCI from Verizon, was not on the witness list.

A second panel includes a Wall Street analyst, a consumer advocate and two university professors.