FCC will give joint attention to AT&T's Qualcomm, T-Mobile deals

AT&T's journey to buy out T-Mobile continues as the FCC brings in another case.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Possibly tired of seeing so much of AT&T all the time, the Federal Communications Commission is consolidating its cases. Specifically, those regarding T-Mobile and Qualcomm.

In a statement released on Monday, Rick Kaplan, chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, wrote that "the best way to determine whether either or both of the proposed transactions serve the public interest is to consider them in a coordinated manner at this time, without prejudice to independent treatment at a later date."

This means that the FCC will suspend its informal 180-day time frame for reviewing AT&T’s $1.9 billion proposal to acquire Qualcomm’s 700Mhz spectrum that it was already undertaking when AT&T bid to takeover T-Mobile in March.

Naturally, Sprint, the undeniable leader in the case against the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, had something to say. This time, the mobile provider supports the FCC's latest move.

Vonya B. McCann, Sprint’s senior vice president of Government Affairs, wrote in a statement:

Given the complexity of the regulatory review of both proposed transactions, it’s a reasonable step for the FCC to coordinate the two reviews. The proposed transactions would produce game-changing effects on consumers and on competition in the wireless market. Over the next few months, we look forward to working with the FCC and other interested parties as the FCC conducts a coordinated review of the two transactions. Such a review makes abundant good sense and clearly is in the public interest.

But given that Sprint is in favor of this decision, it's only makes sense that AT&T wouldn't like it. CNET reports that AT&T reps maintain "that the two deals should be looked at separately, and noted that the FCC has kept the option open to approve the Qualcomm deal first."


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