The Daily Caller this weekend published my piece on why I think the AT&T/T-Mobile merger should be allowed to happen.
… Third, charges that the merger will stifle innovation are bogus. AT&T repeatedly has stated the merger would allow it to deploy more quickly a 4G LTE network that would reach 97 percent of its customers nationwide. This would enable AT&T to compete with current top dog Verizon, at present the only wireless carrier with the spectrum and cash reserves to provide LTE technology. The FCC has determined that LTE technology “has the best potential ‘to make mobile wireless service a more viable competitor’ to landline broadband services,” as reported in Forbes magazine.
Fourth, the claim customers will be forced to pay more for wireless service as the result of a perceived reduction of competition is absurd. If AT&T raised prices for existing customers, and those T-Mobile customers brought under their umbrella, they’d still be free to move to Skype, Verizon, MetroPCS, Leap or another carrier.
Finally, the jilted lover in this scenario is Sprint-Nextel, left standing at the altar in its attempt to marry its fortunes to T-Mobile before AT&T made the better offer. Sprint-Nextel has been as nearly hysterical — and far more hypocritical — in its hue and cry against the merger as the activist group Public Knowledge and Obama’s DOJ. In fact, opponents of the merger have persisted in disingenuously referring to the company by its previous name, Sprint, to deflect recognition that the company purchased Nextel in 2004 for approximately $35 billion.
Got that? The company most concerned about the merger reducing competition in the wireless marketplace ensured its own future competitiveness a few years ago by purchasing a competitor itself. Now it wants to change the rules of the game by lobbying (there’s that dreaded word again!) against the deal it failed to bring to fruition.
Read the rest here.