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.”
“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.