Washington, D.C. – The Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG) filed a Petition to Deny the AT&T/T-Mobile merger this evening pointing out that this merger will harm competition, stifle innovation and result in tens of thousands of lost jobs. “This is the straw that breaks the consolidation camel’s back as far as the wireless industry is concerned,” proclaimed Carri Bennet, RTG’s General Counsel. “The deal violates antitrust law and is horrible from a rural consumer’s perspective,” she noted.
AT&T claims the merger will allow it to bring 4G services to 97% of the population, yet these claims ring hollow in rural America where AT&T has yet to even bring 2G and 3G services. The need for spectrum has nothing to do with the failure of AT&T to serve these areas — spectrum is currently being warehoused by AT&T in rural America. RTG also notes in its Petition that AT&T’s past anticompetitive stances with respect to voice roaming, data roaming, spectrum allocation, interoperability and handset exclusivity will doom a post-merger wireless industry if the transaction is allowed to proceed. AT&T has taken extremely harsh positions with respect to its competitors in numerous proceedings before the FCC. The record is full of instances where AT&T has used its market dominance and might to sway the FCC and Congress to tilt the wireless playing field in its favor. Now is the time for the FCC and DOJ to stand up to AT&T and reject this merger by just saying, “No!”
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
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