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House Democrats Question Benefits Of Wireless Merger House Democrats Question Benefits Of Wireless Merger

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Congress

House Democrats Question Benefits Of Wireless Merger

July 20, 2011

Top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary committees are urging federal regulators to take a hard look at AT&T's plan to purchase T-Mobile, saying the deal could discourage investment and restrict innovation.

House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, D-Mich., sent a letter Wednesday to the heads of the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department.

"We believe that AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy - a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace," the letter, obtained by Tech Daily Dose, says. "Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it."

The Democrats, all of whom have voiced concern over the merger in the past, specifically ask the agencies to analyze the potential effects of the deal on the wireless market, consumer welfare, and American jobs. The letter also urges regulators to determine whether the benefits claimed by AT&T will actually materialize and whether the results could only be achieved by combining AT&T and T-Mobile.

Both the FCC and DOJ are reviewing the merger, and must approve it before it can go through. The process is expected to extend to at least the end of the year.

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