AT&T (NYSE:T) spent last week trying to save its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA after receiving Federal Communication Commission (FCC) approval to withdraw its application.
The FCC issued a scathing 109-page report on Tuesday that said AT&T’s deal would restrict competition in almost every U.S. city. While it does not have a legal impact, the agency said they released the report under the guise of transparency.
This angered but did not deter AT&T to move forward with its proposed transaction.
Rumors swirled on Wednesday from a Wall Street Journal report that AT&T was possibly throwing in the towel for the merger and that the company was holding preliminary talks with Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK), T-Mobile’s parent, about a possible joint venture to combine network assets. Positives for this could include lower AT&T operating costs and an improved spectrum position; however, it would exclude potential retail benefits from a merger.
The gossip was refuted by unnamed sources in a Thursday Reuters article and Deutsche Telekom reportedly said there was no Plan B.
Angry Words, More Challenges
Meanwhile, AT&T responded to the FCC’s report on Thursday by saying the FCC’s “utter absence of balance is clear, and demonstrates that the document lacks all credibility.” The company’s top lobbyist, Jim Cicconi added in a blog post,”The document is so obviously one-sided that any fair-minded person reading it is left with the clear impression that it is an advocacy piece, and not a considered analysis.”
The FCC responded to the sharp words on Twitter under @FCC by writing,
Deeply concerned about
@ATTPublicPolicy J. Cicconi comments today re: FCC’s role in protecting US consumers. ~J.Gurin, Chief Consumer Bureau
The week ended with another wrench in AT&T’s plans after Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) announced an agreement on Friday to buy $3.6 billion of spectrum from three cable companies. This will increase pressure on AT&T, as concerns had been expressed that with its merger, it could surpass Verizon in total customers.
AT&T closed up 0.42 percent to $28.96 on Friday.