Ina Fried

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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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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work