Ina Fried

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ATT Files Papers to Take Over T-Mobile USA’s Wireless Licenses

AT&T said Thursday it had filed initial paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission to take over the wireless licenses held by T-Mobile USA.

The paperwork is the first step in gaining regulatory approval for the proposed $39 billion acquisition. The Department of Justice also must approve the deal.

AT&T’s filing includes both the transfer application and supporting documents making the company’s now-familiar arguments that the deal will improve access to next-generation networks and make better use of limited spectrum. AT&T has said it is posting a redacted version of the filing on its merger Web site.

“The bottom line is that our merger with T-Mobile USA will offer significant benefits to American consumers,” AT&T said in a blog posting. “It will address capacity constraints that both of our companies face, which will enable the combined company to provide improved services in the many urban, suburban, and rural markets where the enormous surge in broadband usage is fast consuming available capacity. What this means is fewer dropped calls, fewer failed call attempts, and better data throughput.”

Sprint is opposing the deal and CEO Dan Hesse has promised to fight hard to get the deal blocked. The New York attorney general and Congress have also said they plan to scrutinize the deal closely.

Non-profit group Free Press also lashed out at the deal in a statement on Thursday.

“No matter how many high-priced lobbying firms AT&T hires, it won’t be able to fool Americans into thinking the reconstitution of the Ma Bell monopoly is a good thing,” Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this deal is about eliminating a competitor and nothing more. AT&T has chosen the marketing slogan ‘Mobilize Everything’ to sell this competition-killing deal, but it’s clear their real goal is to ‘Monopolize Everything.’”

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