Show Me The Shortage, FCC Tells AT&T
Nobody really thought AT&T's bid to acquire T-Mobile would be smooth sailing. And it certainly doesn't look as though it will be. In fact, Federal regulators are already coming to AT&T with some pretty heavy questions, some of which threaten to undermine the very reason given by AT&T for their desire to acquire T-Mobile, a deal that would make AT&T the largest carrier in the US.
AT&T, as you may recall, pointed to "network spectrum and capacity constraints" last month, a situation that can be remedied through the T-Mobile purchase. The Federal Communications Commission has finally responded to that "shaky" claim and is
formally asking AT&T to provide “all plans, analyses and reports discussing the relative network spectrum capacity constraints of the company.”
The FCC, of course, along with the US Justice Department represent the biggest hurdles AT&T will have to clear to seal the deal on the $39 billion acquisition first proposed in March. “We will provide the FCC with all the data it needs,” Michael Balmoris, a spokesman for AT&T, tells Bloomberg in response to Friday's sudden curve-ball inquiry by the FCC. Balmoris, however, says the information request was not unexpected as it represents “standard procedure” during a merger review.
Even if AT&T pacifies regulators with the information they will provide in response to the FCC's first official line of questioning, it is estimated that formal federal approval for the acquisition could ultimately take upwards of a year, if not longer.