You rarely see a company that does as much business with federal regulators as AT&T does attack them as ferociously as the phone giant did today. AT&T is livid over an FCC staff study that concluded its $39B wireless phone acquisition of T-Mobile would be anti-competitive and result in lost jobs. The report, released yesterday, “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,” AT&T Senior EVP External & Legislative Affairs Jim Cicconi said in a blog post. He adds that the report “cherry-picks facts to support its views, and ignores facts that don’t,” and “treats its own speculations as if they were fact.” Calling the staff effort “not the fair and objective analysis to which any party is entitled,” Cicconi also blasted the FCC for releasing the document. AT&T withdrew its merger application at the agency after the FCC moved to block it, although the phone company hasn’t formally abandoned the effort to acquire T-Mobile. By making the report public, he says, the FCC showed that “this was intended more for advocacy and to impact public perceptions. And neither is a proper basis for action by a regulatory agency.”
Consumer groups, which opposed the AT&T deal, rushed to the FCC’s defense. Media Access Project policy director Andrew Jay Schwartzman called the report “thoroughly documented.” He adds that AT&T “takes advantage of the fact that some of the most damaging findings in the report are from confidential documents which AT&T has refused to make public.” And Consumers Union policy counsel Parul Desai says AT&T’s claims that it was treated unfairly “are simply unfounded and an attempt to distract from the truth — that this merger means higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.