Critics of AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile have flooded inboxes at the Federal Communications Commission, but after Tuesday, AT&T gets a turn to officially fire back.
Tuesday was the deadline for opponents to file formal "petitions to deny," which ask the FCC to block the merger. Now AT&T and its supporters have until June 10th to respond to those petitions and convince federal regulators that the deal should go forward.
"Today, we'll begin to see evidence of the strong public support our merger has generated - and it is perhaps the broadest, deepest range of public interest support ever filed at the FCC in support of any transaction," wrote AT&T vice president Jim Cicconi in a blog post Tuesday. He said support for the merger has only been growing.
But that's not the view of other wireless companies and consumer advocacy groups who have voiced active opposition to the deal.
"This outcome may be a good deal in the short term for the executives and shareholders of these two companies, but it's a raw deal for the American public. The FCC must reject this merger," said Craig Aaron, president of Free Press, one of the groups to file petitions Tuesday.
How much impact the petitions actually have on the FCC decision is unclear. FCC officials will look at the issues raised in the filings and all the petitions will be rejected or approved collectively.