The Federal Communications Commission may have hammered the final nail in the coffin for the AT&T-T-Mobile deal, with the latest staff report they have presented, along with the threat of an administrative hearing.
The report was released on Tuesday, the same day the FCC approved AT&T’s withdrawal of their FCC application. The 109-page report was publicly released for transparency reasons, as their findings greatly concern the public. The report concluded that the deal would only lead to massive layoffs, contrary to what AT&T had been brandishing–that the deal would lead to more jobs for the US market.
The staff report stated: “The staff finds the applicants’ assertions that the transaction would create jobs in the United States to be inconsistent with AT&T’s internal analyses and record statements concerning cost reductions from the merger. The staff also finds that there are serious questions whether the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile would cause other public harms that are not offset by the claimed benefits.”
The FCC also stated that they would provide their report to the Department of Justice, who brought a suit against AT&T to hinder the acquisition. Another focal point in the report is when they discussed that T-Mobile is not crucial for AT&T’s plans to deliver LTE to 97% of Americans.
AT&T chief counsel Jim Cicconi was quick to refute the report stating that, “The FCC has recognized that it is required by its own rules to dismiss our merger application. This makes all the more troubling their decision to nonetheless release a preliminary staff report on the merger. This report is not an order of the FCC and has never been voted on. It is simply a staff draft that raises questions of fact that were to be addressed in an administrative hearing, a hearing which will not now take place. It has no force or effect under law, which raises questions as to why the FCC would choose to release it. The draft report has also not been made available to AT&T prior to today, so we have had no opportunity to address or rebut its claims, which makes its release all the more improper.”
As reported earlier this week, AT&T still plans to push through with the deal by selling more of T-Mobile’s assets. AT&T is also in talks with MetroPCS and Leap Wireless,convincing them to sell spectrum and customers in a way to keep the competition alive, even with the absence of T-Mobile.