The FCC and the Justice Department are already reviewing the proposed AT&T takeover of T-Mobile and have now asked AT&T to substantiate their claims of spectrum shortages. In a posting on the FCC website the commission requested that AT&T provide “all plans, analyses and reports discussing the relative network spectrum capacity constraints on the company.”
Inside AT&T’s April 21st filing with the FCC they said they “face network spectrum and capacity constraints more severe than those of any other wireless provider.” The reality might be a little different regarding AT&T’s claim that they face “severe” spectrum shortages given the fact that they seem to be the only ones who think so. There have been widespread reports that not only is AT&T flush with spectrum, many analysts don’t see AT&T in anything that resembles a spectrum crunch to which they so desperately claim. In fact a recent report by CNET claims that AT&T is sitting on more spectrum than any other carrier in the US with almost 1/3 of it being unused.
AT&T responded with a statement passing off the FCC claim as “standard procedure” and would be happy to provide the FCC all the necessary data.
Except the FCC’s request for more information from AT&T didn’t stop there as the FCC asked AT&T a total of 50 specific questions pertaining to AT&T’s internal plans and analyses regarding it’s own spectrum limitations; any alternatives they considered prior to purchasing T-Mobile USA; current and future pricing lists for both AT&T and its competitors and specifically where AT&T wouldn’t have enough spectrum to offer a 4G LTE solution.
While the questions themselves aren’t unusual for antitrust regulators the deal has begun to see widespread skepticism even from Republican members of Congress who traditionally take a hands off approach to the market.
You can read the 50 question breakdown at the FCC link provided here.