Although the AT&T / T-Mobile merger seems to be on life support, you’ve got to admire AT&T for their latest statement, one which proves that if they go down, they want to go down swinging.
AT&T has hit back at the FCC, who earlier this week issued a report condemning the merger as bad for the country. Some of the FCC’s main points revolved around long-standing objections to the deal, for instance – the merger would actually kill jobs instead of growing them like AT&T has promised, that it’s possible for AT&T to build its own 4G LTE network without T-Mobile (market competition would spur that on), and that the merger would simply make AT&T into too much of a giant.
In a statement credited to AT&T Senior VP of External Affairs Jim Cicconi, the company lashes out in what reads like a giant “f*ck you” to the FCC’s notions of fair analysis.
We expected that the AT&T-T-Mobile transaction would receive careful, considered, and fair analysis. Unfortunately, the preliminary FCC Staff Analysis offers none of that. The document is so obviously one-sided that any fair-minded person reading it is left with the clear impression that it is an advocacy piece, and not a considered analysis. In our view, the report raises questions as to whether its authors were predisposed
Cicconi goes on to talk about the FCC’s assertion that the merger would be a job-killer:
Because the report effectively concludes that the billions of additional investment promised by AT&T to deploy 4G LTE mobile broadband service to 55 million more Americans over the next six years will occur anyway, it concludes those billions will create no new jobs and spur no new investment by others. Yet, just two weeks ago the FCC announced that its new $4.5 billion broadband fund, which will help to deploy wireline broadband to a much smaller number of Americans-7 million- over the same time period, will create “approximately 500,000 jobs and $50 billion in economic growth over this period.” This notion — that government spending on broadband deployment creates jobs and economic growth, but private investment does not–makes no sense.
In terms of the FCC’s assertion that the merger would damage competition, AT&T calls out FCC for failing to stay consistent in regards to its own statements:
The FCC’s Mobile Competition Report this year concluded that 90% of all Americans have a choice of five or more facilities-based wireless carriers, not including competition from resale providers. Yet the draft report on our merger dismisses the significance of the FCC’s own official finding in assessing the competitive impact of our merger.
They conclude with a request for people to read the FCC and they will see how unbalanced it really is:
We have summarized here only a portion of the infirmities we see in the FCC’s report. We would encourage all observers to read the report itself. We believe that the utter absence of balance is clear, and demonstrates that the document lacks all credibility. The decision to issue such a report that has no legal status, without a vote of the Commission, and in a proceeding that has been withdrawn, was also without precedent, and underscores that this was intended more for advocacy and to impact public perceptions. And neither is a proper basis for action by a regulatory agency.
Will any of this change anyone’s mind? That remains to be seen. But this statement clearly demonstrates that AT&T isn’t afraid to fight for this deal.
What do you think about the merger? Let us know in the comments.