The Washington Post

Consumer groups urge combined merger reviews for AT&T

Public interest groups Wednesday urged the Federal Communications Commission to group together review of AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile and AT&T’s acquisition of spectrum from Qualcomm.

The point, the groups said in a letter, is to show that if both mergers are complete, AT&T will disproportionately own too much 3G and 4G radiowaves and give it too much advantage over other carriers.

The mergers “would further empower an already dominant wireless carrier to leverage its control over devices, backhaul, and consumers in ways that stifle competition,” Free Press, Consumers Union and Media Access Project said in their letter. “As with other mergers, the competitive impact of the two transactions in combination may be even greater than the impact of each separately.”

The FCC and Justice Department have begun their public interest and antitrust reviews of AT&T’s $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile. In December, AT&T announced its intent to buy Qualcomm’s valuable spectrum licenses in the 700 megahertz band for $1.93 billion.

Related Story:

Q&A with AT&T’s Cicconi on bid to buy T-Mobile

Cecilia Kang is a senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post.

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