Ina Fried

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ATT Flogs Its T-Mobile Deal as U.S. Regulators Begin Their Review

As the government kicked off its formal review of the sale of T-Mobile USA, AT&T on Thursday reiterated its case for why the deal should be allowed to happen.

“While some people were surprised by the announcement, the main reason for the deal was obvious to anyone who has been following the rapid growth of the wireless industry–we need more capacity to address the surging demand for mobile broadband,” the company said in a blog post. AT&T also reiterated that the deal won’t alleviate the industry’s need for more spectrum and said it will continue to support the drive to increase the bandwidth available to the mobile industry.

AT&T’s comments came as the Federal Communications Commission outlined how it will review the proposed $39 billion transaction.

The agency issued a public notice on its Web site and held a press conference. According to the Washington Post, the agency stressed that its primary objective is ensuring the deal is in the public interest, examining both the short-term and long-term impact on competition. The agency didn’t give a timeline for the review.

While AT&T argues the deal will help expand high-speed wireless access to more areas, opponents have argued it will consolidate too much of the market in the hands of AT&T and Verizon, potentially leading to higher prices down the road.

Both the FCC and Department of Justice must sign off on the deal, which has drawn concern from politicians and some interest groups and outright opposition from Sprint. New York’s attorney general has pledged to look into the deal, while Congress also plans hearings on the matter.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work