Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

The Case AT&T Will Make to Congress for the T-Mobile Deal

We’re just full of congressional hearings this week at All Things D. Hot on the heels of today’s hearings about privacy and location data we’ve got another bunch of Congress critters set to ask tough questions about whether or not AT&T’s $39 billion plan to acquire T-Mobile is a good thing–not just for AT&T but for wireless consumers.

The witness list for tomorrow’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee includes AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. His written testimony has already been released, so we know at least some of what he’s going to say. I’ve embedded it below for your perusal.

Stephenson cites the spectrum crisis that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has mentioned so many times in his speeches. AT&T is still fighting the perception that its network has been overwhelmed by data demand from the iPhone. That in mind, he says in his prepared remarks:

To meet the ever increasing demand by consumers, we have to find ways to get more capacity from existing spectrum. That is exactly what the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile will do. Our two companies have very complementary assets, which means that combining them will create much more service-enhancing network capacity–the equivalent of new spectrum–than the two companies could have done operating separately.

Then he goes on to tap another favorite issue of Genachowski’s: Bringing broadband Internet to rural communities where access isn’t as easy to get.

Many people and many communities today don’t have access to the full capabilities of the mobile Internet economy. With the scale, resources and synergies this transaction provides, we can and have committed to provide cutting-edge LTE mobile Internet service to more than 97 percent of the U.S. population–nearly 55 million more Americans than our pre-merger plans and millions more than any other provider has committed to serve.

Next he says nice things about unions, in particular the Communications Workers of America, reminding senators that the CWA as well as the AFL/CIO have endorsed the deal.

Meanwhile, it won’t be uncompetitive at all. In fact, while the number of wireless carriers in the U.S. market will decrease by one, consumer choice increases. How’s that work? I’ll let him tell you.

All T-Mobile customers will have the choice of retaining their existing rate plans or switching to an AT&T rate plan, and they will thus have more choices than before, including a state-of-the-art LTE service that T-Mobile had no clear path to offer on a standalone basis.

Also expected to testify: Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, Cellular South CEO Victor “Hu” Meena and also Gigi Sohn, the president of Public Knowledge and Larry Cohen, head of the Communication Workers of America. Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll be liveblogging the hearing. See you then.

Stephenson Testimony ATT T-Mobile 5.11.11

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik