The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has come out against the merger of cell-phone giants AT&T and T-Mobile USA, reports the Associated Press. Julius Genachowski made his position known in a document he circulated to fellow commissioners Nov. 22. Genachowski recommended sending AT&T’s proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile to an administrative law judge for review and a hearing. That’s what the FCC does when it opposes a merger. According to an FCC official familiar with the matter, an agency analysis concluded the merger would result in higher prices for consumers, less innovation, less investment in the U.S., and fewer U.S. jobs. The review also cast doubt on AT&T’s claim that only the merger would allow it build out “4G” high-speed wireless internet access to cover 97 percent of the population, up from about 80 percent. The agency concluded AT&T likely would do so anyway to remain competitive with Verizon Wireless. AT&T spokesman Larry Solomon said in a statement that the chairman’s action was “disappointing.” The deal, announced in March, would vault the combined No. 2 carrier AT&T and No. 4 T-Mobile into the top spot ahead of Verizon and would leave just three major wireless carriers in the U.S., with Sprint a distant third…

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staff and wire services reports