On Sunday, March 20, 2011 AT&T and Deutsche Telekom announced a $39 billion deal that would give Deutsche Telekom an 8% stake in AT&T and would give AT&T full control over Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA. Though some media outlets excitedly reported as if the deal was sealed that couldn’t be further from the truth. The deal must undergo an approval process through regulatory committees and one Senator is requesting a closer look at the deal for fear it will usurp consumer choice.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting the deal be closely examined as it would give AT&T a 42% hold on the wireless industry.
In the letter, Senator Klobuchar wrote, “At a time when many Americans are using wireless phones as the sole means of telephone communication, it is vital that competition in the wireless market remain robust. That is why I urge you to take a close, hard look at this proposed acquisition and ensure that consumers are provided with adequate choice in the wireless market.”
The news of the deal has been met with enthusiasm by investors as shares for both AT&T and Deutsche Telekom rose after the announcement. Should the deal go through, AT&T would lead with the most wireless subscribers followed by Verizon and then Sprint. The full impact on Sprint remains to be seen as some industry experts suggest that Sprint may face a rough road ahead. Following the announcement Sprint shared dropped 13.6%.
It may take up to a year before the AT&T, T-Mobile USA deal could see approval.