Bloomberg News

AT&T’s T-Mobile Bid Deserves Approval, States’ Lawyers Say

July 27, 2011

(Updates with excerpt from statement in third paragraph.)

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc.’s proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA Inc. should be approved by regulators, according to 11 attorneys general led by Dustin McDaniel of Arkansas and Mark Shurtleff of Utah.

The state legal officials sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission urging the agencies to “expeditiously review and approve the proposed merger of telecommunications companies AT&T and T-Mobile,” according to an e-mailed statement today.

“There are significant economic and public benefits to this merger,” McDaniel said in the statement. “My primary concern is my hope that federal regulators do not require the divestiture of much-needed spectrum capacity.”

The merger will create capacity for the combined company, leading to better phone service and faster data downloads for consumers, the bipartisan group said. They cited AT&T’s commitment to deploy high-speed wireless broadband to more than 97 percent of the U.S. population as a result of the merger.

The officials said they approved conditions “to protect competition and the public interest without unduly delaying the merger or undermining the synergies, economies or benefits of the merger.”

In addition to McDaniel and Shurtleff, attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming signed the letter.

AT&T is “extremely pleased that 11 attorneys general from across the country recognize the substantial benefits the merger would provide to consumers, businesses and rural communities nationwide,” General Counsel Wayne Watts said by e-mail.

--Editors: Charles Carter, Mary Romano

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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