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Free Press Urges Congress To Oppose "Unthinkable" Wireless Merger Free Press Urges Congress To Oppose "Unthinkable" Wireless Merger

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Free Press Urges Congress To Oppose "Unthinkable" Wireless Merger

Approving AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile would be akin to putting Humpty Dumpty together again, the advocacy group Free Press says.

The group wants Congress and the Department of Justice to protect consumers by opposing the $39 billion deal.

Free Press research director Derek Turner calls the merger "unprecedented" and "unthinkable" in a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Monday night.

"Americans need real competition and advanced wireless services, and should not be asked to trade one for the promise of the other," Turner writes. "In short, putting Humpty Dumpty back together is a bad idea. If antitrust law has any meaning left, the Department of Justice should follow past precedent and its own guidelines, and swiftly reject this unthinkable proposal."

The presidents of AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and other wireless carriers are scheduled to testify before the subcommittee on Wednesday.

The 15 page document outlines Free Press's argument against the deal:

• Regulators should consider the nationwide post-paid smartphone cellular service market, not just regional or local markets.

• The market is already highly concentrated, and the merger would only result in a duopoly.

• By acquiring T-Mobile, AT&T would harm consumers and competition.

• The market is particularly vulnerable to coordinated conduct, and the merger would make it worse.

• New companies will not be able to enter the market and effectively compete if the deal goes through.

• The benefits that AT&T claims would come from the merger are based on speculation and do not outweigh the potential harm.

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• Forcing AT&T to divest some of its local markets would not prevent the harm done to nationwide competition.

AT&T argues that the merger will help extend wireless access to more Americans.

"The bottom line is that our merger with T-Mobile USA will offer significant benefits to American consumers," wrote AT&T's Joan Marsh in a blog post. "To sum up, this merger will address serious capacity challenges on our networks; it will significantly advance this country's wireless broadband goals; it will promote competition; and it will keep America on the cutting edge of wireless broadband technologies."

The merger must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Excellent!"

Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

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