AT&T took the next step in its planned purchase of rival cell service company T-Mobile on Thursday by filing a Public Interest Statement with the Federal Communications Commission. While the boards of both companies have already approved the deal, the FCC must conduct its own investigation into the merger before offering its own approval or denial.
AT&T, T-Mobile merger awaits FCC approval
AT&T announced its plans to purchase T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom late in March and said at the time it expected to complete the deal within twelve months, pending standard regulatory approval. The purchase is estimated to cost AT&T some US$39 billion in cash and stock.
“AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers will see service improvements — including improved voice quality - as a result of additional spectrum, increased cell tower density and broader network infrastructure,” AT&T said.
According to AT&T’s FCC filing, it will be able to offer LTE high speed wireless data access to 97.3 percent of the U.S. population. “This deployment will help fulfill this Administration’s pledge to connect every part of America to the digital age,” the company said.
While Verizon doesn’t plan on opposing the merger, Sprint isn’t doesn’t want to see the deal go through. The smaller cell service provider filed an official protest to the purchase calling it anticompetitive, and asked Federal block the transaction.
“This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it,” Sprint said in its formal protest.
Assuming the FCC approves the deal, AT&T will leapfrog Verizon to become the largest cell service provider in the U.S. once the purchase is completed.