Markey Praises Justice Suit to Block AT&T-T-Mobile

Reaction pours in over government move to block $39B deal
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Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the stronger congressional critics of the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger, lauded the Justice Department's move Wednesday to block it, just one of many voices that were weighing in on the announced antitrust suit.

"The Justice Department's decision to take action to block AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile is a victory for competition, consumers and choice. We should be protecting American consumers holding their cell phones, not just telecommunications titans holding stock in the companies," he said in a statement. "The merger would reduce the number of national wireless companies from four down to three, sending the mobile marketplace into a telecommunications time machine back to 1993. That would be an historic mistake."

Markey has been criticizing as a reconstitution of the Bell monopoly to the detriment of the "paranoia-driven, Darwinian" competition that took the cell phone from a "brick" to a Blackberry.

Also applauding Justice was the Future of Music Coalition. "We hope the FCC swiftly follows suit to preserve access and innovation in mobile communications. From competition in a crucial marketplace to jobs preservation, preventing this merger is the right thing to do. Creators and consumers alike should welcome today's news, and we thank those in the music community for helping to illustrate what is at stake for artists and other creative entrepreneurs," said Deputy Director Carey Rae-Hunter in a statement.

The coalition was another fierce critic of the deal, and AT&T. In fact, one of the things it suggested deal critics tell DOJ was that "AT&T should take the $39 billion it wants to spend on T-Mobile and instead improve its own service and networks, not eliminate a competitor that offers lower-priced service plans."

Justice wound up saying the same thing in its release announcing the suit, where it said that "AT&T could obtain substantially the same network enhancements that it claims will come from the transaction if it simply invested in its own network without eliminating a close competitor."

The coalition has argued that further consolidation means fewer companies controlling what content, like the creative output of their members, the public has access to.

"The DOJ's move to block the merger really shows how right on point the California Public Utilities Commission was in its investigation," said The Greenlining Institute. "The DOJ emphasized issues of price, competition, choices, and innovation -- all issues that the CPUC highlighted as the biggest concerns."

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