updated 10:45 pm EDT, Thu October 13, 2011
FCC doesn't take ATT view T-Mobile buy makes jobs
FCC Wireless Bureau leader Rick Kaplan cast further doubt on AT&T's attempted buyout of T-Mobile with a statement that rejected AT&T's view the merger would create jobs. Documents submitted by the carrier so far have so far given "almost nothing in response" to calls for proof, the division head explained to The Hill. AT&T has argued that it would lead to as many as 96,000 jobs, but hasn't exactly how that would happen beyond putting 5,000 low-level call center jobs back onshore.
AT&T said it planned a fuller response. It also pointed to a Thursday FCC submission that mostly repeated the company's marketing angle from when it proposed the deal in Mark, saying it would "create thousands of jobs" without supporting evidence.
Advocacy groups and a Sprint-endorsed study have pointed out that large-scale mergers almost always result in job cuts, not creation, as the companies look to eliminate overlapping positions and start recouping money as quickly as possible. AT&T itself made a common corporate reference to creating "synergies" when it proposed the merger, which often refers to cost-cutting and sometimes job losses.
The Department of Justice has already sued to block the merger, arguing that it's inherently anti-competitive and that concessions would be unlikely to save the deal. FCC officials have stopped short of detailing their plans but have hinted they too might reject the merger.
AT&T may have sabotaged its own case after an unintentionally unredacted FCC filing revealed an internal estimate that it only needs $3.8 billion to reach its 95 to 97 percent LTE coverage claims, not $39 billion and eliminating a major competitor.