Republicans And Democrats Alike Are Skeptical Of AT&T/T-Mobile Deal

Today marked the second hearing by members of Congress regarding the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by rival AT&T held before the House of Representatives’ subcommittee on intellectual property, competition and the internet. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson stuck to his message that this deal was “all about consumers” which was of course rebutted quite frequently by other members of the panel. Parul P. Desair of Consumers Union stated that the merger “would result in a highly concentrated market, which will likely lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.”

While the House panel has no direct say on the approval process for the deal, there was quite a bit of skepticism that the deal would actually do what AT&T pledges to do. “There are legitimate questions about whether this merger could move this market past the anticompetitive tipping point,” said Representative Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican.

Representative John Conyers, Michigan Democrat all but dismissed AT&T’s arguments and argued that the potential cost in terms of lost jobs, innovation and smaller competitors outweigh any proclaimed advantages. “Everything that we’re talking about that’s so great from this merger is really already accomplishable…I see absolutely no redeeming reason for this merger.”

Conyers went on to say that “I am concerned that this merger is bad for consumers, bad for business and bad for innovation…Mergers always eliminate more jobs than they create. There is every likelihood that the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T could lead to both higher prices and decreased consumer choices.”

Stephenson continued to argue that T-Mobile wasn’t a direct competitor of AT&T regardless of all the facts presented to rebut that point. Continued focus on T-Mobile’s current ad campaign featuring shots at AT&T’s network quality were brought into question as to how T-Mobile could consider AT&T a nationwide competitor without the reverse being true?

The great news is that there are no sign Congress is taking this issue lightly and while we continue to wonder whether or not these hearings are just for show or hope to actually influence the decision of the FCC and DOJ. Today was a bright day for those who wish to see this deal put to rest as we saw continued pressure placed on AT&T and Detusche Telekom executives to further explain how they feel this deal benefits consumers and not just their bottom lines.

Reuters, Ars Technica, Consumerist

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  • Yancy

    I just want them to hurry and throw the deal out the window and bitch slap At&t for thinking they can just buy out competition instead of putting the money into their network.

  • Big show, no results.

  • Respawn

    AT&T … “Rethink Your Decision”

  • was this hearing broadcasted online?? I want to see for myself!

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait for this deal to fail and T-mobile get a couple billion dollars, a better roaming deal, and more spectrum.  Maybe that is why T-mobile is going along with this….

    • That is exactly why they are going along with this… ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER REASON!  Look at AT&T’s bad decision to at least explore (HSPA+) early like Tmobile.  AT&T HSPA+ in my mind doesn’t even exist.  TmobileUSA /DK knews this to be the case.  What a way to leapfrog AT&T from number 2 to perhaps number 4 after the merger fails!!!

  • Diamond Prince

    I think the merge is ok if it happends but I really hope tmobile stays a tmobile. but I’m so loving tmobile right now there the best :D so satisfied :)

    • Crazythunder1968

      can’t make up your mind much?

  • RussellB1724

    All the noise from congress is just to make AT&T pay more to get the deal through.  Nothing more than politcal posturing to get a better slice for letting it go down.

  • Anonymous

    Well written and thoughtful article

  • Mark

    is there a recording of this? 

  • Schippma

    This deal will happen since DT wants out. However, I hope T-Mobile will become a publically traded company and DT can take the money from AT&T (extremely unlikely but I can dream). AT&T will acquire most major markets, Verizon will acquire other markets, maybe Sprint will acquire more rural markets that AT&T doesn’t care to assimilate, and the other small carriers, such as Metro, Leap, and U.S. Cellular, will be left with the pieces. These hearings are nothing but smoke and mirrors to American consumers. They talk the talk but when the time comes, the deal will be approved with ‘stipulations’. I have already wrote my congressman in Michigan about this horrible idea of a merger and I urge everyone to do the same. I will fight against this idea to the end, even if I feel my pleas will most likely be unheard. It is my right, and yours, to fight for what you want and not just sit on the sidelines. Regardless of the outcome, I can say that I fought to keep T-Mobile alive.

  • Porsche911

    Russell B is spot on. All this noise just means that att is just going to pay more to get the deal through. Everyone, regardless of carrier, is screwed when this goes through because there will be no competition and prices will just shot sky high. :(

  • Anonymous

    Ok that guy John Conyers? I don’t live in Michigan but he’s got my vote lol.

  • Anonymous

    What I love most about this merger is that no one wants this merger to through but everyone feels it will. The CEO’s are just doing their job . I won’t get mad at them . What is incredible is everyone is so convinced our government is so corrupt that this merger is a given . Our elected officials are so self serving it has to happen . I have decided to find that funny .

    • Umm, I want this merger to go through, and I’m not joking. T-Mobile’s reception sucks, AT&T, might be slightly more expensive, but is far superior in coverage.

      • Stupid is as Stupid Does

        Tory, you obviously don’t have a clue. This is your 2nd post in just a few minutes. I’ll agree that in some areas, ATT has better reception than Tmo. But I’ve traveled all over this country and found very few places that I didn’t have service with Tmobile. Speeds here in my city show Tmo killing ATT. My co-workers both have Blackberry phones on ATT. I’ve been speaking with them at times, and their phone has dropped calls 3 times in 5 minutes. Don’t you dare say that reception is better on ATT because its not. And you haven’t seen what bad service is until you’ve dealt with ATT. I left them over 10 years ago for their crappy service and it has not gotten any better. If this deal does go through, you will regret everything you’ve said, because you don’t know what you’re talking about.  

      • Anonymous

        Then you should join AT&T . Choice is a wonderful thing . Run off and enjoy your better coverage . BTW if coverage is your thing & you don’t mind higher rates you really should check out Verizon .

  • Noel

    Things don’t look good for this deal…it is more and more becoming apperent that this buy out will be rejected. Too many minuses..i say kill the deal. I will rather see Google relieve DT, since it seems  they want out. Google will be perfect to buy Tmo and make it the true hub for Android devices.

    • Tmo_user

      thats exactly how i feel since google was in the market for spectrum and they already have great relationship with T-mobile USA.

      • Senor Chang

        Google really wasn’t in the market for spectrum… there was a stipulation on that auction that if the price bid for the spectrum reached a certain dollar amount, then the winning bidder had to open the spectrum up to allow others to roam on it and use it (whereas if the winning bid was under the required amount, the winning bidder could lock that spectrum to their network/customer-only).  so Google purposefully bid on it to raise the price, *KNOWING* they would not win the bid.  And it worked.  Verizon made a higher bid and won.

        Google is not looking into becoming a telco.  They were just making sure the pipes were sold in a way to make internet access easier for everyone and not locked down.

        I like Google, but I would not stay if they bought Tmobile, I especially would not stay if it suddenly became the ‘Android Network’.  It would also create a huge rift with the other carriers who are already selling Android handsets on their network, as a Google Telco could situate itself to give advantages to their own product on their own network that the other carriers couldn’t match or provide.  It would further cannibalize Android as well, as that situation would create a market where Google would be competing against its own product.  Sounds like a good idea… its really not.

    • This is a fantastic suggestion.  I don’t know what DT was thinking when they said “let’s do this.”  Well, I guess I do… they were money hungry.  I don’t think Google could buy T-Mobile though.  Imagine if T-Mobile owned all rights to Android and they let all of the other carriers put it on their phones.  This wouldn’t fly for anyone, and there would be even more conspiracy theories.  As much as I truly love T-Mobile, Android, and Google, I don’t think they should all be one entity.  T-Mobile can survive on its own.  DT just needs to sell it to a private owner and T-Mobile DT can become T-Mobile USA, it’s own entity.

      • Senor Chang

        Someone offers you an insane deal on your old used car that you don’t want anyway and you take it… 

        “what were you thinking?”

        Tmobile is worth something to At&t and Sprint because of the allocation of additional spectrum.  To another investment group that doesn’t have any existing spectrum, all they are going to get is Tmobile as-is.  At&t and Sprint have far more to gain, willing to offer a lot more money than any ‘private company’.

        And what was DT thinking…  their 1st Qtr 2011 finance report is available for anyone to read.  What they were thinking is they want to shed international operations and focus on Europe where they are slated to merge and become the biggest (or 2nd biggest) European mobile carrier.

        from the quarterly report:
        “The agreed sale of T-Mobile USA to AT&T represents achievement of a central goal of our strategy. This transaction will free up resources, which will allows us to strengthen our focus on the transformation in Europe, and will also impact positively on the development in the other mobile-centric markets”

        Of course all you whiny know-it-all’s will automatically assume I must be pro-merger…  I’m pro-ME.  If Tmo don’t merge… great, but it doesn’t mean they will continue to be the same company I love now.   Even without the merger, I’m not keen on the changes they’re making now so even though I’ve been loyal for 5 years, its time to figure out a back-up plan and be ready.  Merger or no merger.

        • I’m not pro-merger.  There is no need to merge if the outcome is purely based on finance.  There are other factors that come into place when two companies are this large.  Merging with such massive customer impact would damage the company reputation.  We all know AT&T will raise prices, offer fewer devices (than T-Mobile/AT&T combined, separately), and will basically “rape” the customer.  I’m “pro-me” also, but I also try to look out for my fellow consumer and, I’d like to stick up for T-Mobile because they’ve always been good to me.  They aren’t making the best choices now, but they are still the leader by far in terms of service vs. price.. to me, anyway.

    • LC

      I would LOVE to see Google purchase T-Mobile from DT….

      I’d be down with G-Mobile for sure :)

  • I heard someone on Twitter comment once saying that “AT&T has $39 Billion to purchase T-Mobile, yet they put no money into upgrading their network?”  That made me laugh out loud.  Sure, there will be stock and all that but it’s still a funny comment because it echoes reality in how poorly AT&T has mismanaged their network, of which they have the most available spectrum of all carriers.

    And Sprint should calm down a bit seeing how my company will probably buy them within a few years anyways (and you can probably guess where I work since there were some rumblings about this idea last week).  We tend to buy a company every two years like clockwork and they would be a great acquisition to complete our portfolio. Hopefully, we could help in turning around that customer service too.

    Back on topic….yes, this COULD be a good deal if we believed the Death Star, but Alderaan wasn’t stupid and knew what the outcome would be. They talk a good talk, but the dark side has its own intentions. Good for Conyers for pointing out what we’ve all been thinking.

    (sorry if this post seems a little all over the place, but it’s been one of those days)

    • Mbregar13

      The outcome of this proposed merger should set precedence if/when VZW does take a shot at Sprint. If they turn this deal away, VZW won’t waste their time trying and will instead look at another minor player, if anyone at all…

  • Anonymous

    The only GSM Carriers in the US is T-Mobile and AT&T.  When a consumer is only interested in GSM networks they only have two choices.  How can AT&T say T-Mobile is not direct competition.  T-Mobile must be thinking otherwise hence the AT&T bashing with the commercials.  Maybe AT&T doesn’t see T-Mobile as competition because they knew about or planned this merger a while back haha.

    • Of course they planned it a while back. Mergers and acquisitions are only news to the public. Internally, these companies strategize on what it takes to further their portfolios. Mergers and acquisitions are planned to the letter (by smart people. I say this because Sprint acquiring Nextel didn’t really seem to smart in hindsight nor the Time Warner/AOL deal either).

    • Tory

      Get your facts straight. AT&T and T-Mobile are the only NATIONAL GSM carriers. There are tons of regional GSM carriers, such as Cellular One, or Cincinnati Bell…

      • Anonymous

        Cellular what? Cincinnati who?  The only fact here is that if AT&T acquires T-Mobile you can see all those other small carriers get bought out as well. Tory smells like a troll.

      • I am not a real person

        No regional carriers operate where I live.

        • vecl

          neither where i live!

  • Mmmaxhearoom

    Well the merger is a done deal folks. When is another thing. But the FCC has come out and said it will remain neutral on the wireless industry as a whole. Read the att buyout is a done deal. Why? You might ask? Quite simply it is easier to eavesdrop or control a few rather than many, so please don’t hold out hope that DT usa will remain cause it is not going to happen, att will take over. When is another issue

    • Anonymous

      The FCC is working with the DOJ . Thats not staying neutral . Thats staying silent . Its not a done deal . I thought so to until today .

  • Over 20,000.00 filing aready at the fcc. I think they can’t take this lightly.
    heck even my good friend gigi quoted me in her blog. Soon my video will be up soon!!!

  • Anonymous

    This merger will happen and when it does I will sing it’s phrases!  T-Mobile has lost it’s competitive edge & spirit.  Their devices stink and they’re kidding themselves if they think that a supposed 42 Mbps HSPA+ is a real 4G network.   

    • Do you even know what 4G means?  “Fourth Generation”.  There is no technical specification for “4G”.  42Mbps HSPA+ is extremely fast, priced below any other provider and is very reliable.

      • Kurczynski

        actually there is a technical specification for 4G by the ITU which says 4G is any wireless data connection on a mobile device capable of 100mbit/s

        • Guest

          “actually there was a technical specification for 4G by the ITU which says
          4G is any wireless data connection on a mobile device capable of


        • But there is no specification that says you must use a specific type of hardware to broadcast a specific type of signal on a specific frequency, etc.  I simply meant that the term 4G is broad, and people think that the brand of mobile they use is “TRUE 4G”.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t get why people are making such a big deal about 4G networks anyway. If T-Mo stopped increasing speed and just increased coverage area I’d be happy with the speeds I’m at now. 100Mbps while mobile is absolutely asinine and just a digital penis measuring contest. Also if you want to pay more to get a “real” 4G network just dip on out and head somewhere else but don’t be shocked when your bill is twice as much if not more.

      • Well it sure as hell is if you’re still limited to 5GB or even 10GB of data use. Yeah there’s like half an hour of usage.

    • I am not a real person

      I had to like this. This person is obviously joking, not a real 4g network. Who cares what they call it, it is what it is.

    • Giraffe

      Are you using more than 42mbps on your home computer?  If so, why, when you’ll hit that peak all of 2% of the time you’re actually on it?

  • Tory


    • VIVIT

      Then move to AT&T. Why are you still here? And lay off the caps, it make you sound like some 12 year old kid. 

      • Guest

        “It make you” seem tarded cuz grammer iz hurd

    • Anonymous

      You think so, I live in Boston where AT&T reception sucks. T-Mobile has 4 times the data speed both down and up. T-Mobile int. reception is also much better, no comparison, Boston is a huge market and there is just no excuse for their lousy reception and data speeds. Talk about dropping calls, still today they are dropping more calls then carter has pills. Absolutely ridiculous. T-Mobile is the best Network in the Boston area, I have been with them all, Without T-Mobile data would be at a crawl. If more people would quit believing all the crap they read and try T-Mobile they would never leave, fastest data speeds, great voice calls without drops and there plans are 2nd to none. It is a no brainer, I will never leave T-Mobile as long as they are in business.
      PS  They also have the best phones, father of the Android platform just ask Google, they know.

    • Kurczynski

      apparently caps lock is the best thing to happen to you in a while

      • Tortionist

        or continually screwed up billing where you’re overcharged….enjoy.

    • DEv

      SPEAK BROTHER I’m about 30mins outside of Sacramento and I get no service I’m 10mins out of Elk Grove another Major city and i get no service so I want the ATT more than ever because my phone always ask me if I want to roam on ATT network

      • mrsbelpit

        Then just go to AT&T ffs. 

        • DEv

          You have 200 dollars for me to get out of my contract plus 300-450 to get a new Blackberry and Contract?

        • OS2505

          went you activate on T-Mobile you know they have 14 to test drive their service? or you just complaining for the coverage??? please dont be a victim and be realistic if those 14 days you dont test drive the service and now you are complaining well was YOUR bad choice!!!

        • OS2505

          sorry 14 days

        • DEv

          Not being a victim I used to live in the Bay Area, and I stilll had EDGE but it was enough to get by on, no I have no service at my house in Sacramento, so I like Tmobile not the best but not everyone stayys in one place forever

      • Anonymous

        Just use edge and  its solid.

      • Anonymous

         When you say “service” do you mean all service ? or just 3G/4G ? .. are you at the address where you purchased and had your phone shipped to ? .. pretty sure that except for the odd exception, where a mistake was made, that T Mobile does not sell phones to addresses that can not receive their service.. I have also been around quite a bit of the SAC area, and never had had a problem.

    • Mystrobiggz

      Had AT&T once before, through a job I worked.  Absolutely HORRENDOUS service.  DROPPED CALLS on practically every call.  Signal stayed between 1 and 2 bars.  Customer Service…….I would rather beat my own teeth with a metal ladle for hours than to talk to those incompetent idiots.  NOTHING about AT&T is good and I mean NOTHING.  Sure, with Tmobile, I may not get signal in certain areas, but, I am not a traveler, so as long as I get signal in my city, home and work, Tmobile works EXCELLENT for that.  Plans are affordable, Wi-Fi calling is the SAVIOR to allow you to get even cheaper plans.  I would rather Tmobile end up going into bankruptcy than to EVER have to do anything with CrapT&T!

  • Going_home

    Send the death star packing now !

  • ih8att

    all you people that think att’s network is better than T-Mobile “Rethink” i worked for att. Their network sucks so bad that i had to step outside the store to place a call on a customers phone. Also for you Idiots that think the T-Mobile sucks because they can’t get service indoor, read the fine print for verizon, att, sprint, etc. etc. NO wireless carrier can guarentee service in ANY building. I cant wait to wake up the day the merger falls thru and laugh at any fool that was convinced it would. Come on now T-Mobile will get $6 billion in cash and assets, att is stupid for thinking they could buy us out! 

    • Anonymous

      “i worked for att.  Their network sucks so bad that i had to step outside the store”. 

       “Also for you Idiots that think the T-Mobile sucks because they can’t get service indoor, NO wireless carrier can guarentee service in ANY building.”.

      Con·tra·dic·tion /?käntr??dikSH?n/Noun
      1. A combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.

      • Reveillazn

        ih8att didn’t contradict himself. He’s saying all networks are equally bad.

        • Anonymous

          As far as indoors goes yes thats what he’s saying.  But his arguement against ATT was only that “Their network sucks so bad that i had to step outside the store to place a call”  while at the same time saying that TMO is better than ATT although they have the same problem.

          He’s essentially calling himself the same idiot who expects ATT to have good service in ANY building.

      • ih8att

        I now work for T-Mobile. I have no problem making a single call inside the store whatsoever. Just goes to show how much better T-mobile’s network is over att.

  • Hugus

    Don’t get me wrong, I want TMoble to stay around, but what does not make any sense to me is how AT&T could stay in business so long if they provide such terrible customer and phone service. Congress certainly let AT&T know they thought that they were not a great company.
    I use the WiFi calling all of the time, but would like the UMA system brought back to the phones since I think it a little more reliable than the software version.

    • Jacetyle

      Its iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    come on G-Mobile!

  • Oce

    Here’s a thought, if this deal fails then Sprint and Tmobile merge! =0  How do u likes dem apples!  Gsm+CDMA+IDEN=CLUSTER#@$%!!!!  Now take dem apples and try to make an apple pie!  I don’t like the idea of Tmo+ATT but I could not bare a merger between Tmo and Sprint.=(  But this whole fiasco has made it clear that Tmo is looking to sale out and/or partner with someone.  I’d rather it be Att than Sprint.

    • Anonymous

      GSM competition is good for everyone . Monopoly’s are illegal for a reason .

    • Hamster

      Honestly, I don’t think a Sprint/Tmo merger would be half as bad as the ATT merger. Sprint would just run the 2G and 3G networks separately while channeling together for 4G. I’d prefer LTE for 4G over WiMAX, but Sprint would be more likely to keep the consumer-friendly practices Tmo has after buying Tmo.

      From a competitive standpoint, it would also vault Sprint into a more equal position to ATT and Verizon.

      In addition to this, a hypothetical sale to Sprint would now require the ATT deal to fall thorugh giving Tmo a roaming agreement with ATT.

  • bigdaddy07

    They just haven’t lined the pockets of the congressmen with enough money yet. It’s unfortunately going to happen sooner or later. You’ll see these people “reconsider” their position at a later date. I just hope we don’t pay up the a__ for cell phone service. I have friends with IPhones and they pay RIDICULOUS prices !!!


    i think the breakup option would be the best.

    we get more roaming coverage and att gets urban bandwidth.

    as far as politicians go, they’re all whores that can be bought or influenced.

  • Anonymous

    T-Mobile has been mis-managed for quite some time.  It’s too late to rectify past mistakes and become a true powerhouse in the wireless industry.  DT knows deep down inside they can’t improve their position in the US telco industry, so they want out.  I understand everyone’s anti-buyout stance.  In an ideal world, TMO would have a lot more subscribers and be in a better position to compete with the big two, but coverage, lack of exposure (marketing) & being behind the 3G curve for so long has done irreversible damage to TMO.  Don’t get me wrong, TMO has been a great company and i hate to see them sellout….One of the main reasons i believe the deal will go through is DT’s desire to get out of the US market.  I mean how can you force a reluctant player to stay in the game? If TMO were stronger in the US, DT wouldn’t have any part of a buyout.  They would continue to fight against other carriers.  TMO has been losing postpaid customers left and right despite awesome customer service, good device lineup, fast data network and super competitive rates.  Can you blame DT for wanting out?

    • Anonymous

      Compelling post.  Probably the most accurate in here.

      Most astute comment is what we have been saying since this deal was announced, DT wants out of its U.S. “adventure” (as I called it a few months ago). 

      You are right, no matter the govt. agency or legislative body, it is NOT going to force someone to keep its doors open, so to speak. 

      But I can see regulators disapproving AT&T as purchaser.  T-Mobile gets about $6 billion (or whatever the total is) and looks for a new buyer, or someone like Sprint to buy 51% and become the managing partner.

    • Anonymous

      You are correct, you can not make a company stay in business when they no longer want to. That is the most important part of this buyout. t is too bad, T-Mobile has the best phones, very fast data speeds and their plans are the best. If more customers gave T-Mobile a chance they would be very surprised. I live in a suburb of Boston and have been with all the carriers, T-Mobile is the best, there is no comparison. 

  • Anonymous

    California’s Public Utility Commission in San Francisco announced Thursday (May 26, 20110 it would open an investigation into AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile USA, the first state to begin a formal probe into the deal.

    Not saying that will lead to anything that might stop the deal, at least if AT&T wants to do business with a reconstituted AT&T post T-Mobile acquisition.

    Below from WSJ:

    California state regulators moved Thursday to launch an investigation of AT&T Inc.’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, opening another front in the battle over the controversial deal.

    The move comes as the wireless industry is becoming more vocal in its concerns about the deal. Leap Wireless International
    Inc. came out against the acquisition this week, saying it would leave
    the U.S. under the control of two giant carriers—AT&T and Verizon
    Wireless—and harm competition.

    Last week, Metro PCS Inc. said the deal would overly concentrate spectrum holdings with AT&T.

    Sprint Nextel Corp., which has bitterly opposed the acquisition, welcomed Thursday’s
    move by the California Public Utilities Commission, which directed its
    staff to prepare a proposal for investigating the deal. Commissioners
    will consider the proposal at their next meeting, on June 9.

    “We believe a thorough investigation will reveal the negative
    implications for pricing, choice and innovation, critical to
    California’s economy,” said Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless

    AT&T, which has struggled to keep up with data traffic in cities
    like San Francisco, leading to dropped calls, said California customers
    would see “significant service improvement” as a result of the deal. The
    company said it is confident it will win approval for the acquisition.

    Sprint and other opponents of the acquisition, which would combine
    the country’s No. 2 and No. 4 wireless carriers, see the states as an
    important venue for confronting the deal.

    AT&T has notified five states that it is seeking to acquire
    T-Mobile USA and asking that those states not oppose or investigate the

    In three of those states, California, West Virginia and Louisiana,
    Sprint has requested that the states open a formal investigation.

    Louisiana’s public utility commissioners have signaled they would
    like to investigate the deal. California’s size gives the state more
    clout, however.

  • my 2 cents …

    LOVE TMo, LOVE Android, LOVE Google. HATE a&t, their pricing & their c.s. : Long Live Magenta!

  • liveTexas

    Stop Complaining Here and DO SOMETHING! : Those interested in reviewing the comments left already can head to the FCC website and enter proceeding number 11-65. If you’d like to leave a comment of your own, you can head here and select proceeding number 11-65.

  • liveTexas
  • Anonymous

    Here’s some additional detailed coverage on things not going well for AT&T in Washington, on the rural expansion issue:

    AT&T”s pledge to expand LTE service to an additional 55 million Americans in rural areas of the country if regulators approve its merger with T-Mobile USA came under fire on Capitol Hill Thursday.

    Lawmakers at a House Judiciary Committee hearing grilled AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on why the company would choose to build out in rural areas post-merger, when it could choose to expand its network in rural areas even if the merger didn’t go through.

    “The reason that the mountains of North Carolina don’t have any service is because it’s not profitable. What’s so hard to figure out about that?” Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D – Mich.) said in a series of pointed questions aimed at Stephenson. “You don’t make any money up in the country or in rural areas or in the small towns in the mountains. That’s why you don’t get any service. What makes me think that T-Mobile joining you is going to make that any different?”

    Stephenson conceded that there were few financial incentives to expand its network into rural America but defended the company’s promise to deploy in remote areas if its merger with T-Mobile went through, saying the resulting economics would be better for an expansion into rural regions of the country.

    “I would not argue with you that the profit motive does not drive us to invest in rural America. It’s been that way in this industry for quite some time,” Stephenson said. “What I believe this transaction affords is that there becomes a profit incentive to build out to 97 percent.”

    AT&T’s promise to expand its LTE network to rural residents has been one of its top selling points to lawmakers as it lobbies to get its $39 billion takeover approved by the FCC and Department of Justice.

    Like some other operators, AT&T owns spectrum in various rural areas where has not deployed wireless services because it would not be able to make a profit off the network expansion.

    • NardVa

      AT&T is full of it, They claim they need T-Mobile to bring LTE to
      rural areas. What is stopping them from deploying LTE to rural areas
      right now? Like the article  mentions they never had any plans to bring LTE
      to rural areas because there are not enough subscribers/profit to
      justify giving LTE to such a small number of people.  They add T-Mobile and I’m guessing the fact still remains the same. Their want be enough subscribers in the rural areas to justify a roll out of LTE. How many T-Mobile subscribers do these so called rural areas have? I’m guessing a small amount.

  • T-Mobile_ForNow

    i guess I understand why TMO wants out.  They simply do not pull the customers they need to survive.  I LOVE their service and price and would HATE to see it ruined by AT&T.  All my friends have moved to Verizon because one of them sells Verizon.  I give them crap all the time about it because their data rates have actually gone down and they pay a LOT more for it.  I will not move until AT&T messes this network up!

  • Sdme

    I’m an AT&T customer and can tell you that TMobile is way better in service and quality and customer service. AT&T want’s to buy them to learn, I think that TMobile will go to hell in a hand basket if this deal goes through and not to mention that we will be paying through our nose for service.  AT&T is already hundreds of dollars more than TMobile for annual service for both voice and data, imagine what’ll happen to our prices after the merger.  AT&T will be the only carrier in the US that is GSM and International Roaming capable.  Oh GOD please don’t let this deal go through.  

  • TMoFan

    I would love to see this deal fall through not because the FCC or the DoJ blocked it but because more and more people are realizing just how bad it would be to live with a concentrated, duopolic wireless industry. I think it became obvious to everyone yesterday that this buyout will benefit only DT and at&t and definitely not the consumers.

    And I’m not sure what Obermann is taking about by saying T-Mobile doesn’t have a clear path to LTE. Did they not discuss this during their January conference call, where they insisted that T-Mobile is not sale?

    I understand that they want out after mismanaging T-Mobile. I’m not against this sellout because I think DT will have a change of heart. I’m against this sellout because at&t doesn’t need T-Mobile as they say they do and it would be much more beneficial to consumers and competition if DT found another way. There are plenty of alternatives for them to look at instead of following the wad of cash that at&t put up.

  • Werta

    I say let the deal happen. It’d be beneficial to… me. =)

  • tmorep1

    doesn’t matter anymore.  anyone who has called in lately to a tmo rep can tell you that they are REPEATEDLY being offered to buy more shit from tmo.  the reps are REQUIRED to offer you somethin, ANYTHING on every single call.  if you do not you are basically admitting that you don’t want your job.  employees are basically in fear of removing ANY feature from an account and a mentality of “screw them, i’m not removing it” has set in.  the ugly face of this merger is already starting to show itself and the complete lack of any leadership abilities in that kraut humm is completely lost.  the company is going to fold.  

  • Well i for one don’t want this deal to happen. This is why Moron J Stupid  video is live on youtube.
    look under AE$E buyout. It’s not the best and if you can do better please do.!!!

  • Anonymous

    ATT should not be allowed to purchase T Mobile because:  Jobs will be lost, Competition will suffer, Prices are going to be higher and ATTs service is the WORST IN THE WORLD period!.  They have many black spots all over the place on 3g/2g/g or edge.

    For all of you that complain you dont have service inside a building, its easy to have excellent coverage with T Mobile.:

    1) Inside a building, use EDGE and WIFI for data
    2) if your phone supports it, use WIFI and voice calling over WIFI

    Problem solved!

    Operators using lower frequencies (example 800MHz) will have better building penetration than operators using shorter wavelengths, as these waves get blocked by smaller objects. Now if they can use back scattering to improve transmission one way, it wont help your phone accomplish the same path back to the repeater tower and your phone wont have the same transmission power.

    Why are higher frequencies needed.  They allow more data to go through in less time (better throughput, higher network speeds).

    The solution is simple VOIP – WIFI, T Mobile has it. ATT does not.  That’s a hidden bonus for ATT if the merger goes through.  I’m not saying ATT can’t develop it, but there may be patent litigation involved.

    Regardless, before any of you say you dont have coverage, learn a little about how you can setup your phone to improve your coverage.  There is a little need to use a radio, and you need to be a radio operator if you want coverage.  Otherwise, you are just a dumb user, and us such, you don’t deserve coverage.  In other words, put a little effort on your end before complaining.

  • PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!!!!  We the consumers will lose all the way around. 
    I left AT&T over 9 yrs ago because of prices, bad network, and horrible horrible customer relations.  This merger would cause a monopoly with NO CHOCIES for us the consumers. 
    Phone prices, & plan prices would go thru the roof, no competitor relations to be the best in all areas of a company as a whole. 
    The lost jobs that would happen from this merger=NOT WHAT we need in a HORRIBLE economy.  It would not just be customer service jobs lost.  Stores will close = lost jobs, hours changes = lost income, company string to be the best with better phones, more towers = lost jobs, programmers would lose hours=lost income, some might lose their job as well = more lost jobs, etc…   I could go on but I’ll stop there.
    PLEASE PLEASE listen to us the consumers… 

  • Anonymous

    hehehe well IF the deal pass through. I would bet that calling tmobile customer service and their automated voice system will say “Tmobile is now the new AT&T” lol i remember the time when I called At&t customer service and their system will say “Thank you for calling The New AT&T, about your wireless service” sigh good time :D

  • mack

    Republicans And Democrats have no credibility to be skeptical of anyone!

  • Heath

    When both parties can suddenly AGREE on something, and more specifically on something business related, you KNOW the move has to be one of the most awful moves ever unquestionably.