AT&T’s proposed buyout of T-Mobile for $39 billion has run into a number of opponents, including Sprint CEO Dan Hesse who argues that the wireless industry will lose its innovative edge if the deal goes through. Now, Hesse is getting some support in the form of Al Franken — the former comedian and U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

Reuters reports that Franken is among the U.S. senators who is putting pressure on regulators to kill the deal.

“The merger of AT&T and T-Mobile would be a major step towards the creation of an entrenched duopoly in the wireless industry,” Franken writes in a letter to the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. “It would concentrate enormous power over the entire telecommunications sector in the hands of only two companies, and it would incentivize AT&T and Verizon to coordinate prices to the detriment of consumers.”

He continues:

“American consumers rely on the DOJ and the FCC to protect competition. It is only through competition that wireless spectrum usage will become more efficient, handsets more innovative, customer service more responsive, network coverage broader, and prices lower.”

A number of corporations — including Facebook, Yahoo, Oracle and Microsoft — tossed their support behind the proposed buyout earlier in June.

But the proposed merger — a tie-up of the the second and fourth largest wireless carriers in the U.S. — is meeting some new headwinds. Last week, Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust subcommittee, urged regulators to block the buyout. Other legislators have called on regulators to take a close look at the deal before approving it.


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  • Dan

    If weird Al is against the merger… must be right.  This guy is a complete loser.

    • Nowimp7

      if Dan is against Al (who is turning out to be a great Senator), then it must be a good thing.  Dan is a complete loser.

  • Guest

    Thank you, Sen. Franken. The 2010s is truly the “Al Franken decade.” 

  • mckoss

    I think this merger would be spectacularly non-competitive.  I think we could say goodbye to price and bandwidth competition if this merger were to go through.  Cellphone companies already have severe customer lock-in built into their businesses (do you know anyone who doesn’t *hate* their provider?).

    I think we either need more competition or more regulation to stop the carriers from beating up on their customers.  This merge is taking a step in the wrong direction.

  • Anonymous

    On the contrary, since we have Verizon and Sprint competting on the CDMA mobile format, so we need to T-Mobile and AT&T to compter on the GSM mobile format.  T-Mobile is the only affordable GSM provider.  So big kudos to Al Franken for sticking up for the US consumer by suppoeting the Maverick against the Communication Workers  and AT&T.   This country is about free enterprise, not monopolies.  Since GSM is the global standard, if  T-Mobile is goes away, the choice for international phones will be EXTREMELY limited to a few Verizon has and AT&T.   Remember who kept th iphone locked up for so long…AT&T.   Also remember AT&T is really SBC whose management was always about putting the Baby Bell back togethe.   that doesn’t sound like competition to me.  Al has it right…

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