AT&T is still nursing the pain of its failed $39 billion merger with T-Mobile, and it shows.
On Friday the telecom giant jumped at the news of T-Mobile layoffs and told the Federal Communications Commission it was wrong to block the deal.
T-Mobile's decision to consolidate call centers and layoffs of nearly 2,000 people would have been prevented if the merger had gone through, AT&T's Jim Cicconi said in a statement.
During its fight for merger approval, AT&T promised to preserve jobs. Officials at the FCC, however, weren't convinced.
When AT&T abandoned the effort in December, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said: "The FCC is committed to ensuring a competitive mobile marketplace that drives innovation and investment, creates jobs and benefits consumers. This deal would have done the opposite."
Now, Cicconi says, T-Mobile's layoffs have proved AT&T was right.
"Rarely are a regulatory agency's predictive judgments proven so wrong so fast," he said. "But for the government's decision, centers now being closed would be staying open, workers now facing layoffs would have job guarantees, and communities facing turmoil would have security. Only a few months later, the truth of who was right is sadly obvious."
And Cicconi didn't stop there. The FCC, he said, needs more "regulatory humility" because its bad decisions have consequences for others.
"The FCC may consider itself an expert agency on telecom, but it is not omniscient," Cicconi said. "And when it ventures far afield from technical issues, and into judgments about employment or predictions about business decisions, it has often been wildly wrong."
In a statement of its own released on Friday, the FCC said since the merger collapsed, T-Mobile has remained a "vibrant" competitor.
"The bottom line is that AT&T's proposal to acquire a major competitor was unprecedented in scope and the company's own confidential documents showed that the merger would have resulted in significant job losses," the statement said.
The merger was first blocked by the Justice Department, which also concluded that the merger would harm competition.
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