FCC approves AT&T / Qualcomm deal days after failed T-Mobile acquisition

By on December 23, 2011, 10:30 AM

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a deal between AT&T and Qualcomm just days after AT&T threw in the towel on a proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. AT&T will obtain $1.9 billion worth of much-needed airwave licenses from the agreement.

The FCC passed the proposal by a vote of 3 to 1; the only disagreeing vote came from commissioner Michael Copps. In a statement on the matter, Copps said he could be persuaded to change his vote if certain pro-consumer conditions were met. As-is, however, he feels that the deal falls short of advancing the public interest demand and expressed concern about providing more spectrum to one of the two largest providers in the US. Copps has served on the FCC board for 10 years and coincidentally will be retiring at the end of the month.

For AT&T, the deal is good news as the company has been struggling with network congestion from smartphones and now tablet data access. AT&T was the first to carry the iPhone which in large part likely led to some networks, specifically those in large cities like New York, being overwhelmed.

One of the main reasons that AT&T wanted to acquire T-Mobile was to utilize the company’s airwaves. That deal, however, ultimately fell through earlier this week when AT&T officially pulled out of the $39 billion purchase amidst pressure from the FCC and the Justice Department. AT&T had to write off $4 billion to T-Mobile as per the original agreement if the deal were to falter.

User Comments: 7

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Guest said:

Does anyone else get the feeling that AT&T is scrambling to stay in the game?? Kinda feels like AT&T is trying everything in its power to not be bought out by Sprint or Verizon.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

Guest said:

Does anyone else get the feeling that AT&T is scrambling to stay in the game?? Kinda feels like AT&T is trying everything in its power to not be bought out by Sprint or Verizon.

If the government wouldn't allow AT&T (the 2nd largest carrier) to buy T-Mobile (the 4th largest carrier), why would they allow Verizon (the largest carrier) to buy AT&T? Sprint doesn't have enough cash to buy T-Mobile, much less the much, much larger AT&T.

In my opinion, AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile to eliminate competition, nothing more. I'm sure the spectrum would have come in handy, but even their own internal leaked memos noted they didn't need it to build out their LTE network nationwide.

MrAnderson said:

Does not feel like they are scarmbling, but would not rather build out more network if they can buy it out. But I find it interesting that Verizon being the largest is not having any trouble buying up at least spectrum. In the current climate, the government does not want anything larger than Verizon turning up. They should just standarize systems and lisence out and do roaming agreements and get customers on good old fashion services and customer service. Share the burden of the infrustructure. It really makes not sense... the government should be pushing all parties in that direction.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hey, if the extra spectrum helps AT&T drag themselves up from the bottom (after being voted worst carrier yet again), then that's great. Seems like they could use all the help they can get, these days.

fyrfaktry fyrfaktry said:

None of this stuff matters anyway. Both Verizon and AT&T both make more money than God. Who cares who is largest?

Nima304 said:

AT&T is just trying its best to expand its services without being productive in any way. Instead of improving their network, they're content to toss billions of dollars to buy someone else's. They've been repeatedly called the worst carrier in the US, and aren't doing anything to legitimately change that.

veLa veLa said:

AT&T has put very little work into their network and it really shows. Verizon on the other hand has invested so heavily.

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