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FCC chairman fires back at AT&T over price hike threat

updated 02:23 pm EDT, Tue May 8, 2012

Commission expects competition to thrive

Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski has publicly fired back at AT&T over the carrier's latest comments regarding its failed T-Mobile buyout. Speaking at a CTIA keynote, Genachowski suggested the Commission's move should not result in higher prices for consumers. He argues that, to the contrary, blocking the acquisition will help maintain competition and may eventually bring even lower prices.

Despite the rejection of AT&T's proposal, Genachowski argues that the FCC is not completely opposed to any mergers or acquisitions within the industry. He suggests that its position on the massive merger simply proves that "there is a line."

AT&T chairman and CEO Randal Stephenson recently claimed the US cellphone market will be unable to support the number of carriers due to spectrum scarcity, and the FCC's block will eventually lead to higher prices for consumers. The executive suggests AT&T's data prices have already risen by 30 percent since the Commission rejected the acquisition proposal, forcing the company to consider imposing stricter data limits.

The chairman also took time to highlight the Commission's accomplishments, such as licensing white-space spectrum and helping battle phone theft, while noting that the agency is mulling the possibility of sharing government spectrum with public companies in an attempt to bolster consumer networks that are already strained in some places.

by MacNN Staff



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