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AT&T Frames Merger As Critical To White House Goal

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21:  Executives at AT&T attend a news conference where it was announced that AT&T Inc. will be buying its wireless rival T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG for $39 billion in cash and stock on March 21, 2011 in New York City. The deal, which will be scrutinized by U.S. regulators, would create the nation's largest wireless carrier if approved. The deal would likely result in domestic job cuts. T-Mobile USA employs about 38,000 people while AT&T employs an estimated 267,000 people.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

September 9, 2011

AT&T is using President Obama's new push for job growth as a way to advocate for its proposed mega-merger with T-Mobile despite that same administration sued to block the deal last month.

AT&T's top Washington executive Jim Cicconi issued a statement Friday praising the wireless component of a White House jobs plan, which reiterated the goal that 98 percent of Americans will have access to next generation mobile broadband services.

Cicconi framed the merger is a prerequisite to achieving Obama's goal for wireless availability. AT&T has promised to make service available to over 97 percent of Americans if federal regulators approve the deal.

After commending Obama's short-term spectrum proposals, Cicconi said: "It is also important, though, to recognize that other more immediate measures will be needed - including approval of AT&T's merger with T-Mobile -- if our Nation is to realize the President's goal of providing mobile broadband to 98 percent of all Americans."

The White House doesn't seem to agree that the merger is a prerequisite to achieving its wireless goal. The goal, after all, was announced during the State of the Union address in January, well ahead of the the merger announcement in March.

AT&T is expected to try to settle with the Justice Department over its concerns that the deal is anti-competitive. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is also reviewing the deal.

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