Mobile500 Concerned About AT&T-T-Mobile Merger

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The Mobile500 Alliance, a consortium of commercial and noncommercial TV stations promoting mobile DTV, says that if the FCC approves the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, it should condition that merger on the new companies' agreement that it offer and promote broadcast mobile DTV on its voice and data networks, with hardware and software in devices to receive it.

In comments filed with the FCC on AT&T's proposed $39 billion deal, Mobile500 said the goal should be to ensure that at least half of all devices sold for use on the combined company's networks be mobile DTV capable by 2013.

It also wants the FCC to require AT&T/T-Mobile to ensure broadcasters have unimpeded access to viewership data and usage information for their service and acknowledge that audience measurement and usage data is the property of the broadcast content distributor.

The alliance did not officially oppose the merger, but told the FCC it was concerned with the merged company's ability and incentive to "foreclose the emerging competition from broadcast Mobile DTV," which it said is "adverse to the public interest."

Todd Schurz of Schurz Communications, a Mobile500 member, told a House hearing panel Wednesday that offering and promoting mobile DTV should be both a condition of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal and the price of entry into the FCC's proposed incentive auction of reclaimed spectrum from broadcasters and others.

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