Heartland Institute Experts Comment on Proposed Merger of AT&T and T-Mobile

Published March 21, 2011

AT&T said Sunday it has agreed to purchase T-Mobile USA in a $39 billion acquisition – a move that surprised the industry and is sure to be scrutinized by federal regulators. The following statements by technology and telecommunications experts at The Heartland Institute may be used for attribution. For further comments, refer to the contact information below.

Bruce Edward Walker, managing editor of InfoTech & Telecom News and research fellow at The Heartland Institute:

“One hopes the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t dither over the T-Mobile/AT&T deal to the extent it did over the Comcast/NBCU merger last year. In the latter instance, the FCC stalled and delayed a determination for nearly a year in order to eke out ridiculous concessions that had no bearing whatsoever on the FCC’s authority in the matter.

“Most of the FCC’s ‘concerns’ were in fact within the purview of the Department of Justice and employed as nothing more than an unnecessary redundancy used to further expand the commission’s draconian regulatory agenda.”

Bruce Edward Walker
Managing Editor, InfoTech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Jim Lakely, co-director of the Center on the Digital Economy at The Heartland Institute:

“Those harping over this merger operate from a bizarre anti-business mind set. They have convinced themselves that it is the goal of every business to gobble up as much market share as possible – just so it finally has the power to abuse its customers. But no merger – not even one as large as this between T-Mobile and AT&T – repeals the corrective influence of free markets in the digital economy. In other words, no company is eager to ruin its brand no matter how big it gets.

“This merger is likely to facilitate faster build-out of 4G technology across the wireless industry, drive down prices for consumers, and render moot the federal government’s ‘National Broadband Plan.’

The Department of Justice has long considered the wireless market vibrant and competitive, and its merger-approval process should take precedence over a Federal Communications Commission that is continually looking for ways to meddle in the technology market. The FCC itself poses a bigger danger to consumers than any merger.”

Jim Lakely
Co-director, Center on the Digital Economy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]