AT&T CEO Says Higher Prices For All If T-Mobile Deal Blocked As AT&T Prepares To Face Judge’s Questions Today

As AT&T prepares to face Judge Huvelle at the U.S. District Court today, CEO Randall Stephenson says blocking the deal will result in higher prices for everyone. Without T-Mobile, AT&T says their capacity will be constrained and that “regulators can’t keep up with the changes in the industry.”

As the AT&T CEO makes his comments, AT&T will be questioned today by Judge Huvelle, the U.S. District Court judge presiding over the Department of Justice lawsuit. AT&T will appear in court today for the first time since they withdrew their application to the Federal Communications Commission seeking approval for the deal.

During today’s hearing the Judge will make sure both sides will be ready for trial on February 13th. Judge Huvelle will also look at the status of the lawsuits by Sprint and C Spire who are continuing to fight the proposed deal with their own separate lawsuits.

“The Justice Department may try to persuade the judge to press AT&T to take a position on whether it still plans to move forward,” said Andrew Gavil, an antitrust professor at Howard University School of Law in Washington. “They may say ‘We think this deal is dead and we shouldn’t be litigating a case that, in effect, is moot.’”

AT&T’s lawyers have written that a court victory would constitute “materially changed circumstances” that would then be submitted to the FCC as AT&T would attempt to re-seek approval.

On Tuesday, Judge Huvelle’s special master Richard Levie questioned whether AT&T’s proposal to buy T-Mobile was still active. His comments resulted from a decision that allowed Lightquared to avoid an AT&T request seeking testimony from company officials at AT&T attempted to show Lightsquared as another marketplace competitor. Levie interpreted Jim Cicconi’s comments in AT&T’s letter after the FCC decision allowing them to withdraw their FCC application to mean “the current litigation may, in fact, not present a live case or controversy.”

Eyes will be on Washington today to see what comes of todays hearing.

BusinessWeek (1), BusinessWeek (2)


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  • Camus123

    AT&T could have higher prices than they do now?  Is that even possible?  Their price plans are ridiculous as it is.

  • Camus123

    AT&T could have higher prices than they do now?  Is that even possible?  Their price plans are ridiculous as it is.

    • What about the billions they have in the bank for all their acquisition deals?  Obviously they need to raise rates until they have trillions in the bank.

      • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      They could raise their prices to Verizon’s level.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a backwards world. This merger will create jobs ! We will pay more if there is less competition! The sky is down! The ground is up ! at&t is trying to disprove everything I have learned in my life.

    • Anonymous

      LOL well put.  Next thing you know  Randall Stephenson is gonna flip out Michael Richards (Kramer) style and start yelling “the truth” about T-Mobile.

      “The’re F!@#$%g CHEAP!  Bringing us down STEALING our high paying customers and keeping us from charging MORE.  I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!”

      • Anonymous

        To ATT..  the day ATT goes out of business prices will come down for everyone.

        As a former ATT customer I can state its been the worst experience ever.

        Service in third world countries is far superior than the one you offer in every way.

        Starting from the fact that support calls could only be done during business hours.  While Telcos in thirdworld countries would take calls 24 hours during the day 365 days during the year.

        When the service was done in a give area, you would blame antennas or reception in a place like WI where it only has rolling hills.  In the middle of the Andes, at over 10000 ft high with valleys going 6000 feet down, canyons and all.  Entel, Cotas, Viva and Telecel in the least develop country in South America offered better services with no blackouts using similar 3g Technology.  And they do so with less spectrum than what ATT currently holds.

        So please, don’t state you need more spectrum and capacity, when services in a thirdworld country can do more with less and still keep customers happy!

  • Anonymous

    It’s a backwards world. This merger will create jobs ! We will pay more if there is less competition! The sky is down! The ground is up ! at&t is trying to disprove everything I have learned in my life.

  • SemiSpook

    I would like for you to meet my herring. As you can see, it is red.

    Sorry, Randall. Not going to fly. If AT&T hadn’t dicked around trying to secure the rights to the iPhone and actually beefed up the network BEFORE it hit, you wouldn’t be behind the infrastructure curve now.

    Talk about poor planning…

  • If AT+T raises their prices, T-Mobile will welcome the customers with open arms.  Their exclusive deal for the iPhone will finally come back to bite them in the ass.

    • Anonymous

      AT&T prices are already double T-Mobile’s.

  • BigMixxx

    So let me make sure I understand this….

    AT&T, who’s prices are the highest, especially in Text messaging and Data, of all carriers is saying that they will charge MORE if the deal does not go through.

    This is a clear….forget it…

    I hope the judge takes him through the ringer.  That does NOT add up at all.  Is he saying he will charge more, because they didn’t spend 39 billion or charge less after they do spend 39 billion.  

    He really said that.  Openly.  Ralph De La Vega should really take over the company.

    • guest1

      The way I read it was, they will bring back unlimited data since they will have so much spectrum!!!!!

      • Are you kidding? There’s no way AT&T would do that…

        • guest1

          It was obviously a joke.

  • AT&T is trying to win master troll of the year award. What puzzles me is why do they think they can go by the DOJ and the FCC.

    • Yes because we all know politicians/officials can NEVER be bought off. What kind of world would that be?? To be honest, I can’t believe they haven’t been already. Maybe it’s too late now

  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Higher prices for all….AT&T users.

  • Anonymous

    That’s one arrogant stance and it just goes to show that with that much power, you can make everyone’s prices go up.

    So if there is a VZW/ATT duopoloy then prices will go down??  LOL

  • Lee

    AT&T Asinine Taxation and Tyranny. People, until you stop going goo goo for Coco Puffs for the liePhone4BS the Death Star will continue. All the while we the consumer are caught up in a telecommunication gang war with the Crips (AT&T) and Bloods (Verizon). No matter who wins, WE LOSE.

  • Whylee77

    Maybe its just me, but perhaps AT&T should have been more consious of this BEFORE the 11th hour.  VZW hasnt had a problem getting extra Spectrum when it needs it.  They have not been freaking out.  T-MO has the resources to grow.  It may not be LTE, but their HSPA+ is fantastic.  So AT&T only has themselves to blame for getting themselves into this position for not preparing properly for the future.

    • Anonymous

      I like to think that TMO HSPA+ will live on as a super fast budget network but the reality is that the world is moving to LTE and TMO will eventually get left behind like Analog TV signals unless they conform.  

      I have no clue what the future holds but IMO this is the direction we are headed.

      Me personally I’d be satisfied if the Catagory 42 HSPA+ was considered “budget” compared to a 20-50Mbps(real world) LTE network if our coverage was wider and more consistant.  Hopefully that is the plan.

      • Anonymous

        Tmobile will need to find a wholesaler to partner with. Dish is probably the perfect partner, since they have not partnered with anyone yet and have a lot of satellite spectrum. Also Tmobile will likely have to start following sprint and roll out with Multimode towers that can handle both LTE and HSPA+.  I am not exactly sure how much AWS they have in all areas, but I believe they could at least rollout 10mhz LTE in most of the major cities. In cities where they have 30mhz of spectrum, they could build out 20mhz. 

        • Anonymous

          HSPA+ and SAT Spectrum sounds good to me!

        • The plan (before the acquisition was announced) was to replace the 2G GSM network with LTE once HSPA+ blankets their current 2G coverage area. They can deploy at least 5×5 LTE in most markets (with larger markets able to support 10×10) on their PCS spectrum alone.

        • Talos68

          Replacing the 2G GSM with LTE is a great idea, but my question is WHO would pay for it?  NOT DT, they have made it clear they want OUT of the US market and could care less about the structure of T Mobile USA’s network now. T mobile  USA does not have the cash to do such a thing, AND if you think for one second that the money that AT & T would give IF the merger does NOT work would go to T Mo USA think again. 

          Your Loving leader,

          Kim Jong-il

        • T-Mobile USA already makes enough money that they could stagger the buildout of LTE to higher density areas before tackling other places. Unlike AT&T’s buildout, T-Mobile’s would just require reconfiguring the physical towers to support the LTE air interface. All the other work has already been done as part of their HSPA+ deployment. To cover about 90% of the population with LTE on PCS, I’d estimate it would probably cost at most $500 million. Extending that to 96% would cost another $700 million. However, they don’t plan on replacing until their HSPA+ deployment is complete, which it isn’t. HSPA+ deployment is still ongoing, and will continue probably into late 2012. Once they are satisfied with the deployment and usage levels of HSPA+, then they’ll begin LTE deployment. It’s basically the same strategy that most European network operators are using in regards to LTE deployment as well.

          Let’s not forget that T-Mobile does have a build requirement for AWS-1. They need to have some deployment in every license zone by 2015, or they will lose the unused license zones. They need to cover most of the population in all license zones by 2020, as well. So, for now, HSPA+ on AWS-1 is a priority.

      • Anonymous

        I know one thing, my future won’t hold ATT. Whether this merger happens or not, or ATT raises their prices or not, I will not be an ATT customer unless they are the very last cell phone company in existence. They can suck it.

      • Anonymous

        The “World” isn’t moving to LTE at all HSPA is still the most widely used network worldwide. United States top carriers are moving to LTE i don’t think for a second that the world is gonna even consider switching 10 years from now and if they do its not gonna be done or even started 20 years from now. HSPA+ has alot more promise and stability at the moment and not as many risks as LTE and LTE still has its quirks that need working out and until they are its not going to be adopted world wide.

  • BP

    It will be interesting to see if the judge sees this deal as right now (DOJ and FCC) or for the future (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon).  Both make valid points.

  • Anonymous

    You read it wrong everyone. Some how the deathstar,is going to make everyone plan higher.
    That means every cell phone company is going to have higher prices. That means even little unknow companies. Now what I would like to know what drugs this guy is taking? Anyone that should go for drug test should be him! Att. as we say in NYC,wake up and smell the piss,the deal is dead!

    • Tbyrne


  • Not Dumb

    thats hillariuos…they think the people are stupid…most people flock to the lowest price all the time…so if the merger is blocked there will still be more competitors hence cheaper prices…what is wrong with these arrogant 1%ers… let me break it down barney style for them- more competitors=cheaper prices!!!!! plain and simple

    • gp

      Except that people aren’t going to the cheapest place. They’re leaving T-Mobile for AT&T and Verizon.

      • Not Dumb

        Then I guess the people are dumb…paying more for slower data speeds and pretty much the same coverage…lmao…

  • Anonymous

    Well I guess the fat lady has begun practicing to take the stage and ATT has heard her warming up. This is a hail mary pass from att. If Att raised prices, they would be shooting themselves in the foot. Sprint and Tmobile will keep their prices the same, and I believe Verizon would also keep their prices the same, which would mean att would price itself out of competition.

     If ATT is really worried about network constrains, then they should actually build out their network. If you look at their map, they still have like 40% of it blanketed with edge. 

  • Nearmsp

    ok, the news just out, the Judge says go back to FCC and get clearance from them! Having just withdrawn their application at FCC they have no choice but either go back or as the market thinks more likely AT&T will use this excuse to ditch the merger. Good day for DT/T-mobile. As an AT&T shareholder I want Randall to resign for gutting $4 billion of shareholder money! I demand his resignation.

  • Trjcasper

    The judge and the DOJ have better things to do if ATT isn’t serious about this. If they change their plan in a month or two a lot of work/time was wasted. If ATT is serious they need to resubmit to FCC with the final plan so this can move forward. If they don’t submit to FCC they’re basically saying they’re not serious about this and should withdraw their DOJ application as well.

  • Tbyrne

    I’m actually concerned about Randall. His irrational & erratic behavior leaves me to believe he might be headed for an emotional breakdown. To see him finally emerge to personally deal with this mess (that he created), leaves me wondering if we’re going to see him have a major meltdown. Grab some popcorn boys & girls, the shows about to begin!

  • jonathan3579

    How can anyone respect something like this? “The customers will pay for our court costs unless we get what we want.” I’m sorry but… FUCK THAT! I’m so glad I didn’t jump on AT&T for the iPhone.

  • Todd

    LOL !! Because when companies have to compete for your business prices tend to skyrocket ! When I started looking in to this merger , as a satisfied TMO customer who was curious about the changes that could come , I had no idea of the shear evil that could be given my business .

  • jay_max

    AT&T’s statements are straight out of Orwell’s 1984.  This is becoming a farce of epic proportions.

  • Minioninnc

    See he didn’t finish out his comment, higher prices for all if the at&t – t-mo deal is blocked. There will be higher prices for all if the at&t – t-mo deal is approved as well.

  • Anonymous

    Yo man I’ma get some more stickers out to you.  You want to try a different address or just go with the same ones?

    • Anonymous

      Let’s go ahead with a different one, lol. I’ll send it in just a few. I haven’t been receiving a lot of mail here. >:[

  • Eric

    He forgot to also mention that since the deal got blocked, AT&T will continue to be last place in customer service because they couldn’t assimilate T-Mobile’s employees lol

    • Anonymous

      You will be assimilate! We are The Borg! I mean att! LoL!

  • i bet Hess just rolled around on the floor laughing his ass off when he read this

    • Tbyrne

      Ivan too!

  • Jon

    What world does AT&T live in? I don’t know but the way they think is backwards where lies are truth to them. Go figure

  • Youremail

    Looks like ATT is desperate.  Now Randall  is starting to use threats.  Last time I check, when companies compete for your business, prices go down.

    • Jackhuny

      It’s not like he has many option on the table. If this thing fails he has to rise the price, one is that AT&T has to pay T-Mobile and like he said, their network can’t keep up so maybe they can get rid of some of there poor customers?
      Anyway T-Mobile CEO should at least write a thank you letter to Randall.

  • James

    Higher prices for all?  Sounds like AT&T wants to pass the money they will owe T-Mobile to their customers.  Why should AT&T customers should take the hit for AT&T’s mistakes?  I’m with T-Mobile, but I hope the FCC will protect AT&T customers from paying AT&T agreement fees if the deal fails.

    • Anonymous

      grandfather plan ftw

    • Jackhuny

      Well, they don’t have to, they can always switch to T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint. That is why we don’t want a one huge company but many small ones.

    • Theabunai

      James They won’t owe ANY money to tmobile if the deal falls through.. they will owe the money to DT who already said they are NOT putting money into Tmobile.. So Tmobile won’t see any of that money PERIOD…  I am a long long time Tmobile customer… And personally I think ATT is getting the brunt of all the evilness… IN my opinion I think DT is the ASS HAT here… They offered up tmobile to the highest bidder… I think all our anger should be put toward DT NOT ATT… 

  • Ash

    Don’t have have higher prices for all already?

    And what is this?? threatening the FCC, DOJ and customers??

    Why don’t they just hold a gun and “take” t-mobile…..LOL

  • ItsMichaelNotMike

    Boy does this smack of desperation, threatening consumers.

    All of naught since everyone knows that AT&T can raise prices if it wants, with consumers having a choice, they will move to other carriers.

    Sheesh… these guys are acting like AT&T is the only carrier in the U.S. and consumers better snap to, or else.

    Tools, they are.

  • Andres Garcia


  • Andres Garcia


    • Man that would be great if he gets fired over this deal! hahaha!

    • Anonymous

      Can he say’s would you like to fries with your bigmac? LoL

  • ole’ Randall thinks he’s ‘Q’, Omnipotent, arrogant, and a jerk. He IS a jerk…

  • TMoFan

    Stephenson’s bully tactics are tiresome and pathetic. What was once called an ambitious and doable buyout is now called a mess. It’s nice to see at&t’s attempt to take out a competitor and DT’s desire for a quick payday implode.

  • Funnyceo

    This is funny. I remember when I was a kid, I used to tell if I don’t get cookies, I don’t do homework. I don’t know how is he still CEO for that company?

  • actually this might save Tmo, if they DO raise prices from the Tmo Deal fall out, a lot of customers will jump ship and might help Tmos customer numbers

  • Go ahead AT&T, increase your rate plans and charge more outrages fees, you’re already doing it. But everything has a limit, sooner or later your customers will get tired of your tactic games and will terminate their contracts in order to go to T-Mobile or even Sprint. Verizon, another one, with their high prices, who wants that!

  • Anonymous

    Pretty sure Sprint and T-mobile are praying ATT is this arrogant and actually does try and raise prices. This will only hurt them more and cause people to move to sprint, tmobile, or verizon. I am already sure customers who are high data users will be switching soon with the news of the throttling. Already people are getting warnings of reaching top 5% before they hit 5gbs of usage. If this continues, soon people will be getting throttled after 3gb or even less. 

  • Bill

    Okay…T-Mobile won’t be merging with AT&T; everybody happy?  As LTE makes headway it isn’t going to matter what CDMA network other than Verizon Wireless opts to merge with T-Mobile; the likely suitor being Sprint/Nextel.  A combined company still puts them both at number 3 but literally in a statistical dead heat with AT&T and Verizon Wireless. If AT&T raises prices everybody will follow suit.  T-Mobile is bleeding post-paid customers at a high rate and I for one were hoping the merger would go through but now that it is practically dead; I’m leaving T-Mobile after 13 years being with them.  There is no T-Mobile service in my location and God knows I’ve tried to have T-Mobile add an array to a former Alltel now AT&T tower and to no avail.  People, get it through your heads; T-Mobile USA will be gobbled up by some company.  All you folks who can take advantage of LTE and HSDPA+, God bless all of you; rural customers will never see it. I hope I’m wrong, I really do…Data use to be $2.99 with T-Mobile during the T-Zones and Unlimited T-Zones; ah the good ol days.  Text Messaging is now falling off it’s highs of just a couple of years ago; a major, major cash cow for these companies; but with TextPlus and WhatsApp; messaging can be done via data not SMS and now companies are beginning to eliminate tiered messaging; it’s either no plan or unlimited; think about how many messages it would take to send 1 megabyte and get back to me on the cost.  I’ve never understood why a network that gets faster and faster and faster is a good thing when now there are caps.  I look back and I remember a Southern Bell local line and an AT&T long distance line being all of twenty bucks and next came those damn USF fees and everything else fees; cell companies began without these fees but today; they all do.  I pay $169.86 for five lines of service before taxes; today, the same comparable level of service is well over $300 before taxes.  We who live in rural areas will never benefit from the upgrades made in data; hell, even AT&T DSL is capped now.  And one more thing…net neutrality…it too is alive and well.  And before anybody echoes “Wi-Fi calling,” a T-Mobile network outage the other day; how much is Skype again…assuming you’re not on the horn for 20 minutes and one second!

    • Tbyrne

      Yeah. I’m happy. Big time!

  • josue cifuentes

    Randall should just pimp slap the judge…im sure that will help lmao

  • Must be AT&T logic.  How can absorbing one’s competition make pricing decrease?

    • InvisibleHand

      He didn’t say that prices would decrease. He said that prices will increase if the deal doesn’t go through. T-Mobile cannot continue indefinitely at the current price structure. If they were smart, they would have already raised prices to match AT&T and Verizon. How is it that nobody seems to recognize the correlation between high prices and more subscribers?

  • Anonymous

    He forgot to say higher prices for all AT&T subscribers just to cover their fiasco.

  • Cityofnewyork3000

    Yes finally the train is straight wobbling on the tracks and will not regain stability, this shit is derailed. It is off the rails, smoldering and burning yet they are still saying, ” Oh sure the train will be on time”. What is that dude smoking? Must be some good shit.

  • DH

    That arrogant fool is sooo full of it…you know some heads are gonna roll when this fiasco is finally pronounced DOA, & I think his will be on that list.