Don't look for the House Energy and Commerce Committee to start its evaluation of AT&T's proposed merger of T-Mobile USA any time soon.
"It's not on our short-term agenda," Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., told Tech Daily Dose Thursday.
He said given the recent history of big mergers, it will likely take the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission a year or more to decide whether to approve the deal between the second and fourth largest wireless firms. That was the time frame both agencies took in evaluating Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal.
"If you look at the history, it's going to take a long time," Upton said.
While declining to give a date, Upton said he expects the committee will hold a hearing later this year to "walk through" the issues related to the merger.
When the deal was announced earlier this month, Upton and Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., voiced as much concern about the process the FCC planned to use to evaluate the deal as they did about the potential impact on competition in the wireless market.
"A key question for this committee is whether the FCC is conducting thorough market analysis and how that influences the agency's decision-making," Upton and Walden said in their joint statement on the deal.
Energy and Commerce is one of several congressional panels expected to examine the AT&T-T-Mobile merger. The others include the Senate Commerce Committee and the House and Senate Judiciary committees.
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