Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Sprint Cheers as California Utility Commission Opens Inquiry Into AT&T-T-Mobile Deal

California’s Public Utilities Commission said on Thursday that it was opening an inquiry into AT&T’s planned $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA.

Predictably, the deal’s biggest opponent, Sprint, cheered the move.

“Sprint is pleased that the commission will open up a proceeding to investigate the proposed takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T,” public affairs manager John Taylor said in a statement. “We believe a thorough investigation will reveal the negative implications for pricing, choice and innovation, critical to California’s economy.”

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Public Service Commission has opened a docket on the matter, while Sprint has asked regulators in West Virigina to do the same.

The deal requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice, but other regulatory bodies have also announced inquiries or held hearings.

Earlier on Thursday, a House subcommittee held a hearing on the deal–the latest of the inquiries from Capitol Hill. Reps. Ed Markey and John Conyers, in particular, sharply criticized the proposed transaction.

In a statement, an AT&T spokesman said the company is pleased with the level of support it has gotten and said Californians will benefit if the deal is allowed to proceed.

“As the federal review process continues, we’re confident in the merits of this deal and that regulatory approvals will be obtained after a thorough review of the facts and law because of the significant consumer, public, and economic benefits it brings,” he said.

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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