AT&T has lashed back at the FCC over its comments regarding the T-Mobile USA acquisition, calling preliminary analysis “obviously one-sided” and “an advocacy piece, and not a considered analysis.” Penned by Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, the rebuke claims the FCC report “cherry-picks facts to support its views, and ignores facts that don’t” while “where facts were lacking, the report speculates, with no basis, and then treats its own speculations as if they were fact.”
AT&T then breaks down individual points made by the FCC, which the agency had used to express its concerns that the acquisition of T-Mobile USA would be contrary to the public interest. It dismissed the authors’ suggestions that, even without the deal, AT&T would “expand its LTE deployment from 80% of the population to 97.4% even without the merger” but points out that it later goes on to argue “that the level of wireless competition in more populated areas of America is so fragile that the merger must be disallowed.”
Meanwhile, there is little mention of the spectrum issue, AT&T argues, and “seems to discount the significant spectrum constraints faced by AT&T, including an 8,000% increase in data traffic on our network over the past four years, even though we have submitted volumes of evidence documenting these constraints.”
“Surely, it is neither fair nor logical for the FCC to trumpet a national spectrum crisis for much of the past year, and then draft a report claiming that two major wireless companies face no such constraints despite sworn declarations demonstrating the opposite” AT&T
As for whether acquiring T-Mobile USA would allow AT&T to return the wireless market to its previous days of tightly restricted voice bundles, limits on VoIP and the like, the carrier dismisses suggestions by the FCC that its acquisition target is “a critical “disruptive force” in the industry.” Instead, it points out, T-Mobile USA has been losing subscribers for two years, has no path to LTE and is being distanced from its parent company, Deutsche Telekom.
“We believe that the utter absence of balance is clear, and demonstrates that the document lacks all credibility” AT&T concludes, seemingly hoping that a raging tirade of criticism will persuade the FCC to be more favorable when it eventually resubmits its bid. You can find the full AT&T statement here.
AT&T opening comments:
“We expected that the AT&T-T-Mobile transaction would receive careful, considered, and fair analysis. Unfortunately, the preliminary FCC Staff Analysis offers none of that. The document is so obviously one-sided that any fair-minded person reading it is left with the clear impression that it is an advocacy piece, and not a considered analysis.
In our view, the report raises questions as to whether its authors were predisposed. The report cherry-picks facts to support its views, and ignores facts that don’t. Where facts were lacking, the report speculates, with no basis, and then treats its own speculations as if they were fact. This is clearly not the fair and objective analysis to which any party is entitled, and which we have every right to expect.
All any company can properly ask when they present a matter to the government is a fair hearing and objective treatment based on factual findings. The FCC’s report makes clear that neither occurred on our merger, at least within the pages of this report. This has not been our past experience with the agency, which lets us hope for and expect better in the future.”