Industry reactions to DOJ's blockage of AT&T/T-Mobile merger
The U.S. Department of Justice has moved to block the mega-merger between AT&T and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, a merger that could completely throw off the competitive landscape for wireless communications for the next decade. Communications industry representatives Wednesday are stepping forward one by one and issuing support or condemnation for the DOJ's move.
The potential merger faced criticism from all sides of the industry, from smaller regional wireless carriers, to advocates for infrastructural growth, but there were a handful of supporters of the merger outside of AT&T and Deutsche Telekom who believed the combination of two of the U.S.' four biggest wireless networks would have been beneficial.
Department of Justice
"The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would result in tens of millions of consumers all across the United States facing higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for mobile wireless services. Consumers across the country, including those in rural areas and those with lower incomes, benefit from competition among the nation's wireless carriers, particularly the four remaining national carriers. This lawsuit seeks to ensure that everyone can continue to receive the benefits of that competition."
-James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General
"T-Mobile has been an important source of competition among the national carriers, including through innovation and quality enhancements such as the roll-out of the first nationwide high-speed data network. Unless this merger is blocked, competition and innovation will be reduced, and consumers will suffer."
-Sharis A. Pozen, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.
"We are surprised and disappointed by today’s action, particularly since we have met repeatedly with the Department of Justice and there was no indication from the DOJ that this action was being contemplated. We plan to ask for an expedited hearing so the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed. The DOJ has the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive affects and we intend to vigorously contest this matter in court….We remain confident that this merger is in the best interest of consumers and our country, and the facts will prevail in court."
-Wayne Watts, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel
“The DOJ today delivered a decisive victory for consumers, competition and our country. By filing suit to block AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile, the DOJ has put consumers’ interests first. Sprint applauds the DOJ for conducting a careful and thorough review and for reaching a just decision – one which will ensure that consumers continue to reap the benefits of a competitive U.S. wireless industry. Contrary to AT&T’s assertions, today’s action will preserve American jobs, strengthen the American economy, and encourage innovation.”
-Vonya B. McCann, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for Sprint
Federal Communications Commission
"By filing suit today, the Department of Justice has concluded that AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile would substantially lessen competition in violation of the antitrust laws. Competition is an essential component of the FCC’s statutory public interest analysis, and although our process is not complete, the record before this agency also raises serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition. Vibrant competition in wireless services is vital to innovation, investment, economic growth and job creation, and to drive our global leadership in mobile. Competition fosters consumer benefits, including more choices, better service and lower prices."
-Julius Genachowski, FCC Chairman
Rural Cellular Association
"We are extremely pleased but not surprised that DOJ has decided to block this anti-competitive merger. This is an extraordinary announcement – one that confirms our belief that this merger cannot be conditioned into acceptance. DOJ has been very diligent in pursuing their responsibilities and clearly recognized consolidation is detrimental to competition and would not be in the public interest. This is an enormous win for consumers across the United States.”
-Steven K. Berry, President and CEO, Rural Cellular Association
Internet Innovation Alliance
"The IIA is supportive of the merger because it will be helpful to our economy and U.S. job creation. Bringing jobs back to America and investing in broadband technology, which will foster innovation, are a win-win for the U.S. economy."
-IIA Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher
Communications Workers of America
"The decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to seek to block the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA is simply wrong. In today’s sinking economy, where millions of Americans are looking for work, the DOJ has decided to oppose a merger that will create as many as 96,000 quality jobs. In the U.S., where too many Americans, especially in rural areas, don’t have access to the tools of Internet technology, the DOJ has determined that a plan to build out high speed wireless access to 97 percent of the country should be opposed. In a nation where workers’ rights are routinely violated, as occurs everyday at T-Mobile, the DOJ apparently believes that workers should be on their own instead of having a fair choice about union representation."
--Official CWA Statement
"A combined AT&T/T-Mobile would harm consumers by reducing competition and by raising barriers to entry for potential new entrants like DISH Network. DISH Network believes its own efforts in seeking to enter the wireless broadband market will drive job creation and further stimulate competition and innovation."
-Dish Network official company statement