Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

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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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