ATandT Uses Old Arguments in Response to Justice Department Lawsuit

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-09-12 Print this article Print

News Analysis: AT&T tries to argue that its merger with T-Mobile is a "good thing" for everyone. It's an old tactic called "proof by repeated assertion."

AT&T filed its official response Sept. 9 to the antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice that seeks to prevent the company's merger with T-Mobile. In the response, AT&T states the same arguments that it has been making all along-that the merger would be good for consumers, that it wouldn't create higher prices, and that AT&T needs T-Mobile's spectrum to be able to grow its 3G and 4G coverage. The company also said that the merger would result in greater efficiencies, higher-quality service and even fewer dropped calls.

However, in its response, AT&T also charged that the Justice Department's complaint "fails to come to grips with the significant efficiencies this transaction will generate."  AT&T also charged that the DOJ failed to depict accurately the state of competition in mobile telecommunications today. The company said that the complaint ignores competition from Sprint and Verizon Wireless and said that "innovative upstarts such as MetroPCS and Leap/Cricket, and strong regional providers like U.S. Cellular and Cellular South" provide significant competition.

In its complaint, AT&T points out that the company has spent $30 billion in spectrum and infrastructure, but it denies that it competes with T-Mobile on a national basis, claiming instead that all competition is really local, despite the fact that both companies set their rates and their marketing approaches nationally.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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