Bloomberg News

Dish Network Urges FCC to Release AT&T, T-Mobile Deal Findings

December 01, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Dish Network Corp. urged the Federal Communications Commission to publish the findings that led the agency to move against AT&T Inc.’s proposed $39 billion purchase of wireless rival T-Mobile USA Inc.

The FCC has heard from thousands of parties and reviewed more than 1 million documents, and the public and courts should have the benefit of that expertise, Jeffrey Blum, deputy general counsel for Dish, told an agency official, according to a filing posted today on the FCC’s website.

Dish, an Englewood, Colorado-based satellite television provider, is a potential rival to AT&T in the wireless market. Dish asked the agency in May to reject the deal, and in August the company sought FCC permission to offer mobile high-speed Internet service.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asked fellow commissioners on Nov. 22 to send AT&T’s bid for the Deutsche Telekom AG unit to a hearing that would commence after a Justice Department lawsuit is resolved. The Justice Department sued Aug. 31, saying the deal to eliminate the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier was anti-competitive.

AT&T and Deutsche Telekom said they withdrew their FCC merger applications Nov. 23, and AT&T on Nov. 25 said the agency must allow the withdrawal. The companies will focus on overcoming Justice Department objections and plan to again file before the FCC, AT&T said in a statement.

AT&T’s move is “a request” that the FCC “will consider,” agency spokeswoman Tammy Sun said in an e-mailed statement Nov. 24.

Advocacy Groups’ Request

The FCC can let AT&T withdraw its merger application, and at the same time publish the staff document accompanying Genachowski’s request for a hearing, Blum said in a conversation yesterday with Edward Lazarus, the FCC’s chief of staff, according to the filing.

Two Washington-based advocacy groups opposing the merger, Public Knowledge and Media Access Project, said in a filing yesterday the FCC should deny the withdrawal request and issue the staff document. The groups said AT&T was attempting “to game the system and circumvent commission review.”

AT&T has said the transaction announced March 20 will create jobs and hasten the spread of high-speed wireless Internet service.

--Editors: Michael Shepard, Steve Walsh

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net


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