Irony Dept.: FCC Details Why Merger Was Wrong — After AT&T Pulls Deal

Publish date:

Top Federal Communications Commission
staffers last week outlined to reporters all the reasons
why they thought AT&T should not be allowed to buy
rival wireless provider T-Mobile.

The outline was drawn from a 109-page staff report
the FCC said it would make public
— even though the commission
was, in the same breath, agreeing to
withdraw the merger application on
AT&T’s request.

AT&T felt the withdrawal ended
the matter and essentially mooted
the report. The FCC staffers disagreed.
They said the FCC had to
act on the withdrawal, and by releasing
the report they spared the
commission of being accused of
suppressing information, information
that took months to collect
and could guide AT&T in making
adjustments, as it has signaled, the company refiles the
deal with the FCC.

The staffers said letting AT&T take over T-Mobile
would reduce competition, innovation
and investment, as well as
undermine the Communications

FCC staffers did not agree the
deal would create jobs, as AT&T
ads had claimed. They did believe
that, for competitive reasons,
the company would build out 4G
wireless service to the vast majority
of the country with or without
T-Mobile in tow, even though
AT&T had claimed it would not.

Asked if they essentially were
saying AT&T had lied, the FCC
staffers said they were merely following the language of
the statute when they said AT&T’s case for the merger
“raises substantial and material questions of fact.” Not
a lie, just a question of fact.

After the FCC folks had finished hammering on the
telco, the last word was provided by the conference-call
operator: “We do thank you for your participation and for
using AT&T’s executive conferencing services.”


As seen in this rendering, RFD-TV will celebrate movie cowboy
Roy Rogers in the final float of the Tournament of Roses
Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 2. Rogers, star of 88
movies and 100 TV episodes, died in 1988 and would have
turned 100 on Nov. 5, 2011. A hundred riders on Golden
Palominos will lead the “Happy Trails” float, which features
Rogers’s actual (stuffed) horse Trigger and dog Bullet. RFD
(and other outlets, including ABC, NBC, HGTV and Univision)
will televise the parade. RFD also will stream it online.