Ina Fried

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Weekend Update: Franken Also Against AT&T/T-Mobile Deal

Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken is the latest politician calling on U.S. regulators to block AT&T’s planned $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission and attorney general Tuesday, Franken said the deal would lead to “an effective duopoly” in the national wireless market and inevitably lead to both higher prices and job losses.

“My examination of this transaction has led me to conclude that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would substantially lessen competition in the already highly concentrated wireless communications market,” Franken said in the filing. “In addition to my antitrust concerns, I am convinced that this type of horizontal consolidation does not serve the public interest.”

Franken’s objections follow that of Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl, who went public with his opposition to the deal last week.

The deal needs the blessing of both the FCC and the Department of Justice. Sprint has vocally opposed the deal, along with a handful of public interest groups and smaller carriers, while AT&T has won backing from a number of high-tech firms, labor groups and others. AT&T said in its earnings call last week that it remains confident it will win approval for the deal.

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