AT&T to Report $4B Accounting Hit; Asks FCC to Pull Applications
One day after the Federal Communications Commission confirmed that it is circulating a Hearing Designation Order, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile USA, announced their intention to withdraw their merger applications from the FCC. Additionally, AT&T announced that it is taking a $4 billion charge in this year’s final quarter, an accounting move likely forced by a future “break-up” fee it would pay to T-Mobile. The Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG) views these two events as compelling evidence that AT&T knows its prospects of taking over T-Mobile are slim to none and it is simply trying to minimize its financial and legal exposure in the deal’s waning days.
“AT&T’s decision to pull its pending FCC applications is geared solely to prevent, or at least hinder, the Commission’s ability to release its findings on the negative impact on the public interest of the proposed takeover. For the FCC to reach the conclusion that a Hearing Designation Order is warranted, the facts must look pretty bad and AT&T is trying to save face. Like a sore loser on the playground, AT&T is taking its ball and going home,” said Carri Bennet, RTG’s General Counsel. While both AT&T and Deutsche Telekom re-affirmed their intent to proceed with the DOJ trial, there is no clear consensus on what steps the FCC and/or Judge Huvelle will take now that AT&T has overturned the applecart.
“Now would be a good time for AT&T to throw in the towel” remarked Bennet “so that the industry, government and consumers will be able to move forward and get on with the business at hand. T-Mobile will also be able to move forward during the critical holiday season without the angst of this ‘non-deal’ hanging over it. To continue this charade in court is a huge waste of government resources.”
About RTG – Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG) is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve less than 100,000 subscribers. RTG’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities. ruraltelecomgroup.org @RTGwireless
# # #