AT&T Responds to Department of Justice Complaint


AT&T’s back seems to be up against the ropes here. They’ve responded to news earlier today that the Department of Justice would seek to block the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, citing anti-trust and anti-competition concerns as reasons why AT&T should not be allowed to gobble up T-Mobile.

“We are surprised and disappointed by today’s action, particularly since we have met repeatedly with the Department of Justice and there was no indication from the DOJ that this action was being contemplated.

We plan to ask for an expedited hearing so the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed. The DOJ has the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive affects and we intend to vigorously contest this matter in court.

At the end of the day, we believe facts will guide any final decision and the facts are clear. This merger will:

· Help solve our nation’s spectrum exhaust situation and improve wireless service for millions.

· Allow AT&T to expand 4G LTE mobile broadband to another 55 million Americans, or 97% of the population;

· Result in billions of additional investment and tens of thousands of jobs, at a time when our nation needs them most.

We remain confident that this merger is in the best interest of consumers and our country, and the facts will prevail in court.“

And that’s pretty much what they’ve been saying since the announcement was first made, except now they sound a bit more worried that things won’t go as planned.

Evidence has begun to form regarding AT&T’s claims that they need T-Mobile to improve their own network and provide LTE for their consumers – simply put, that’s not entirely true. They also have not been able to provide evidence that “spectrum exhaustion” is a real problem.

And to top that cupcake off with a nice, magenta cherry, AT&T has pretty much refused advice that would help them solve the very “problem” they claim they have. Yep, I think the Department of Justice is on the right track here. [via TmoNews]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. AT&T sounds like a child crying because they aren’t going to get their way.

  2. If the world could be powered by this kind of bullsh!t, we’d have an endless supply of readily available energy, so long as AT&T was around to dish it out.

    Eff AT&T.

    1. eff you sir and good day to you.

      1. Pull your iPhone out of your ass. I think you broke the glass.

        1. I said good day sir

  3. Found this on another site and seems AT&T basically talking out both sides of their mouth on this one:

    1. Great story. This may be the reason the JD is trying to pull the plug. There’s no way the FTC should let this deal go down.

    2. Great link, thanks!

  4. yeah right tens of thousands of jobs for India and Milian, have it in writting all new jobs created will be in the united states and then we can talk. and 4G to 97% of the population? thats arogant saying they would be the provider to 97% of the population. right i believe that

    1. They have said in the past, AVAILABLE to 97% of Americans, that doesn’t mean 97% of Americans will be their subscribers.

  5. Whether you agree with the merger or not, this is ridiculous. The United States antitrust law prohibits anti-competitive behavior (monopoly) and unfair business practices. This merger would neither create a monopoly(still multiple other US carriers) nor is it unfair business practices(they didn’t trick or cheat anyone out of getting T-Mobile for themselves). This is nothing more than a populist movement and not based on U.S. law. So AT&T is willing to spend more on the merger than estimates claim it would cost to build out their LTE network, but is that illegal? No. Will this merger make AT&T the only available carrier in any region in the US? No. Whether the merger or AT&T are unpopular should have absolutely no bearing on the legality of this merger, that’s what we have laws for. mmmkay? Now you can flame away.

    1. Very well put.
      The government is overstepping it’s bounds.

      1. No, they are not. When a company makes false claims to stifle competition the consumer must be protected. Please don’t hand me any free market BS either because it’s that attitude that has millions of Americans looking for work today. We all know that within months 98% of T-Mo employees would be on the street if this deal is allowed.

        1. You are against the free market? What system would you prefer? Communism? Sure that has worked great in the past, USSR and East Germany ring a bell?

          1. Come on Mike, stop believing everything Fox tells you. It’s your myopic thought process that has the country where it is. If allowing businesses to do anything they want worked, we wouldn’t have the unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures we do. Get your head out of your ass.

          2. Learn history before you try to insult me. I don’t believe most of what any media tells me, I do my own research. If you had, then you would know that the housing crisis was caused by a combination of faulty government regulations and greedy people. It has absolutely nothing to do with the free market. The community reinvestment act signed into law in 1977 was the main catalyst to the housing bubble. It told banks that it should give more loans to minorities and people in low to moderate income neighborhoods. It was later modified many times during the Clinton and Bush administrations in order to loosen the lending rules which in turn caused millions who could not afford loans to receive them anyway. Then the banks started bundling these bad loans into mortgage backed securities which created the credit default swap crisis. For the record I have never said there should be no regulations, so get your own head out of your ass and don’t put words in my mouth.

          3. I’m for capitalism. I’m sure you know the differance? In my wold companies play nice and on an even playing field. In your misguided world its who ever has more Senators in their pocket. Nice try though.

          4. It is contradictory to be for Capitalism but against the free market.

          5. “It is contradictory to be for Capitalism but against the free market.” No, it’s not. Read my earlier post. We are welcome to our own opinion but not our own facts Mike.

      2. Yes, look how well the banking industry turned out when it was allowed to do anything it wanted.

        1. I’d plus you a million times if I could.

        2. Companies to big to fail, privatize the profits, socialize the losses, Billionaire CEO golden parachutes, yet the big roar is on attacking middle class teachers, rofl…

          god bless america

    2. What other US carrier utilizes GSM? There will be only one choice for this particular technology, therefore a monopoly. CDMA doesn’t compare.

      1. Lots of companies have monopolies on Technology, its called Patents. This does not make the merger illegal.

        1. If they held the patents for this technology, it might be different. However, if this merger creates large ares where all the GSM towers are owned by a single company it creates an environment where smaller carriers who rented bandwidth from T-Mobile or customers from regional carriers roaming through these areas have no option but to pay what AT&T will charge to use their service. This creates the illegal monopoly.

          1. haha whattt?!!

        2. Do you realize why ATT was broken up in the 1st place several years ago?

      2. still dont understand do you?

    3. No Mike Niccum, you’re the one who is ridiculous. This deal would create an even stronger Oligopoly. The anti-trust law does not have to wait until there are only 2 firms left, before they act. By then it would be way too late.

      Unless you’re an anti-trust lawyer and can give technical reasons why this is wrong, your bullshit makes no sense.

      1. I could say the same to you, are you an Antitrust lawyer? I’m guessing no. We are all laymen here. The law is to prevent monopolies and unfair business practices, you did not address how AT&T would violate either of these you just went with ad hominem attacks, but that’s what I would expect when someone does not have a real argument. The retail gas market is an Oligopoly but I do not see DOJ after them. An oligopoly is only illegal when the companies communicate in order to set prices. By the way the carriers already have an oligopoly, it is not exclusive to only 2 firms but when any market is dominated by a small number of sellers.

        1. ATT would be THE only GSM carrier in the Country, monopoly, next? I shouldn’t be forced into using a CDMA phone just because ATT would rather buy out it’s competition than make the cheaper improvements to it’s network

          1. THIS is the winning answer to why it would be a monopoly!

          2. no it wouldnt….what would happen if say sprint brought tmo or verizon?they jusy happen to be a gsm network,and duh its perfect for att to buy..tmo want go bye bye btw.

          3. Read down a couple of replies, many technologies could be said to be held by a monopoly, which is the whole point of Patents, that does not make it illegal. Just because only one company controls a specific technology does not make it illegal. If I want iOS I have to choose Apple how is that any different?

          4. Because anyone can go out and create another OS (Android, WebOS, etc); BUT when you’re talking about wireless providers, if ATT and VZN have rights to the bulk of the PUBLIC OWNED SPECTRUM, how can there be any competition? There is no free market if companies cannot compete.

          5. Sorry Abel it would not let me reply to you so I am replying here. AT&T and VZW already own a majority of the spectrum in this country especially when you are talking about 700MHz and AWS. Not to mention there are periodic spectrum auctions held by the U.S. Government and you can outright buy spectrum leases, like AT&T is trying to do with Qualcomm. Again I must stress that Two companies holding the majority of any market is not illegal unless they are collaborating with eachother.
            Also if we are totally honest we know that many people will leave t-mobile if the merger goes through, many already have, and for all we know this may be just what Sprint needs to get back in the game. We do not know what exactly will happen. While I agree more competition is better, and honestly do not know how the merger may or may not turn out or affect people, I do not see a clear cut reason for the FCC to block this.

      2. you guys are amazing at not knowing anything,granted i dont know much,ha.but really mike is correct really..its wrong?how?tmo wants out anyway.

    4. An approval of the AT&T / T-Mobile merger as not being anti-competitive would be a strong argument in court should Verizon and Sprint decide to merge. Then it would be a duopoly.

      AT&T has the spectrum to push LTE out to the nation as it stands right now, so what is AT&T’s true motive here? I assure you the reason for the merger is not to make life better for you and me.

      1. true, ATT has already shot itself in the foot by claiming it would cost too much to expand their coverage to cover most of america; however it is willing to spend 10x more to buy another company to supposedly expand their coverage…

        /rolls eyes

        1. That I definitely agree with. AT&T should have been transparent about their motives to acquire tmo.

    5. Oligopoly is the word people need to start using as it more accurately describes what the laws are used to stop and what this situation is addressing.

      The distinction is that the laws are vague on purpose. Issues like this are addressed on a case by case basis to keep this an issue of right and wrong and not about lawyers interpreting words. This issue has nothing to do with monopolies.

      Basically, people who’s job it is to improve the economy will decide this issue (like I said: case by case) like they do every time. This is the system we use in the US. Most times it passes un-noticed but in this case the people making the choices are leaning towards declining the request and AT&T is crying publicly. This is 100% U.S. Law exactly how it always does.

      The difference? You, the arm chair lawyer disagree with the politician decisions (which mind you are made made yet) . If you disagree, fine, vote for the most conservative guy you can next time. But, this is our system and this is what the people want. Your a minority, sucks don’t it?

      1. Like I said before an Oligopoly is only illegal when the firms communicate with eachother in order to set prices or collaborate in unfair business practices. Also I do not disagree with the politicians, we are talking about the FTC which is an unelected body.
        I find it funny you mention people whose job it is to improve the economy, how have they been working out so far? It is not the governments job to improve the economy, or maybe I am wrong show me where in the constitution it mentions improving the economy under the federal governments enumerated powers.

        1. Like almost all people with opinions that do not go with the majority you try and focus on the word.. such as your comment “show me where in the constitution it mentions improving the economy…”

          Welp! The constitution is a very very small document of many used by the united states… it is not the definition of the united states. There is a whole department who’s job it is to help the economy.. but, lets forget all that and get to the main point. Where does it say “an Oligopoly is only illegal when the firms communicate with each other” ,, Pro tip: it doesn’t. Laws are in fact extremely vague and complicated and often conflict with each other to leave room for the judges to make decisions for the good of the country. And that changes day by day.

          Lastly, the FDAs the non elected 1st step. This will go to the supreme court eventually if Verizon doesn’t like it and that will be the final determination. Most likely they will go with the judgment of the FDA but this is all law.. if you dont like the way the system works bu all means move to china. But it is what it is and contrary to your anti-american government hating comments, everyone is doing their job. How it’s being done is not an issue.. the issue is actually, you just don’t agree with them. That’s all it is and that to bad.

          1. Try reading the constitution. It specifically says all powers not granted to the federal government are reserved for the states or the people. The enumerated powers of the constitution say nothing about improving the economy therefore the federal government has no right to take such actions. This is a republic, not a democracy. That is a very important difference.
            As for oligopolies try reading a little about them. Oligopolies are not illegal until they use unfair business practices.
            It is not a judges job to makes decisions based on the good of the country but based on the letter of the law.
            Lastly, the FDA is the food and drug administration and I doubt they care in the least about this merger but I’m sure you meant FCC.

          2. Stop talking buddy. I’m a conservative too and you really are making us look like the red neck stereo types with no education.

            Simple logic here, that the constitution does not mention things like finance and trade does not mean that it is illegal for the government to institute laws regarding the un said topic. Any 1st grader can under stand that.

            For example: The International Trade Administration is a legal department of government, one of many, that is not listed in the constitution. Its sole purpose is to improve the American Economy.

            As far as the letter of the law, this is ALL good as far as the letter of the law and you have nothing to complain about (yet here you are?) If there was something illegal done, you know AT&T would be extremely vocal about it. But, it is in fact, a judges job to interpret a law as it was intended, when the latter of the law leaves room to interpret… and that’s really what this is all about. You disagree with his interpretation. You believe it is clear that AT&T should be left on its own. But please please take a moment to consider this, even AT&T is not crying foul, perhaps your opinion is just that… an opinion.

            And as such, an opinion of a minority really has no value.

          3. Len wake up man, lots of people do stuff they are not supposed to do but that does not make it ok. The reason our government has created these unconstitutional departments and programs is because we the people have not been vigilant and held them to their constitutional powers. Unfortunately most Americans feel like you do, the government created it and it seems like it has been around forever so it must be OK. That is wrong. The founding fathers foresaw that things would come up in the future that they could not predict which is why they created the ammendment process. If it’s not expressly stated in the constitution it is outside of the governments purview unless an amendment is passed. Now if amendments had been passed to expand the federal governments powers that’s fine, but until they are many of the things the government does are unconstitutional, plain and simple. Try reading the federalist papers it might help you understand our founding fathers’ intentions.

          4. At least now you are awknowledging (sp?) That you are entering the realm of opinion, or at least realm of alternate viewing of the law. But this is the law, and this is a tech forum not an anti government forum. You would do well to accept we are in 2011.

      2. the only guy who starting to make sense is mike niccum

        1. If you think so…..Mike.

  6. The only way going to 3 carriers makes sense is if T-Mo and Sprint were to merge so that the 3 would be on fairly even ground. Honestly, I don’t think that is a good idea either, but it’s a much better one than AT&T

  7. Jobs? When is the last time two companies merging resulted in MORE jobs? You have two fully staffed companies (each with departments the other doesn’t use) who when combined won’t need everyone from both companies. There is absolutely no way the number of jobs will increase. What a joke.

    1. They are referring to the buildout of the LTE network creating jobs, but I do agree that that is laughable. AT&T would have to build an LTE network whether the merger happened or not.

      1. True. If they are including those job numbers, then they are full of crap.

      2. Not only that, but ATT doesn’t have 97% marketshare. It’s physically impossible for them to “cover” 97%, either. At best, they can hit maybe 25% of the population, of which probably 10% will live in an area covered by LTE, the same 10% that would remain post merger.

    2. Ok, please answer this question then. How many job’s will be lost if tmo pulls out of the N. American market because they can’t compete with att and Verizon. How well is tmo going to fair if the govt has to bail them out in order to get their hands in the pie. That’s the only reason they would get involved, if you think its in order to help the American people to have fairer competition in the mobile market then you are very naive.

      1. Um…did you read my comment or did you possibly click reply to the wrong one? Because I’m not talking about competition in the mobile market anywhere. And at no time has the frailness of t-mo been a “pro” listed by AT&T as to why the merger should happen. AT&T is saying they are going to CREATE thousands of jobs, not SAVE thousands of jobs. BIG difference. If they stated the former, I would have no problem with that, since it could be true.

        But the fact that tmo is hemorrhaging right now is partly to blame on the announced merger, of which a lot of people want nothing to do with and therefore jumped ship from tmo. So the argument that AT&T is saving jobs by saving tmo is irrelevant since the merger helped to create the problem in the first place.

        1. Sure jobs will be lost either way. But if tmo pulls out more jobs will be lost.
          Why is it that it was ok with everyone when Sprint was going to buy them out? But as soon as att outbid them they are an evil monopolizing coorporation.
          I have never had an issue with att, sure they may be higher priced than tmo or sprint but what about Verizon, horrible customer service, overpriced products an where I live their service is no better than att’s.

          1. I would have to say it is because a Sprint/tmo merger would create 3 relatively similarly sized companies, which would encourage competition, whereas if att gets tmo, it will create 2 giants and one small company. Sprint would more than likely be forced out eventually as well, resulting in only 2 large companies with way too much muscle.

      2. I think that the 6 billion dollars that T-mo will get for ATT if the merger fails will pay the bills for some time and they will be able to expand their network with that money. The only loser here is ATT.

        1. 6 billion will not keep them afloat for more than a year or so. Look at how much Sprint lost this yr so far and they are considered somewhat healthy as far as a business goes. Att will continue on uninjured by te 6 billion loss, I’m sure that was taken into consideration before attempting the buyout.

          1. what? Look at tmobile’s balance sheet. 6 billion would last them quite a long time and is no small money for what effectively costs them nothing.

  8. The Merger will create JOBS? That is a laugh and a half… Will help them build out their LTE network? They already proved that it would cost them less to do than the merger. AT&T’s service is crap and they know it… and by buying off the competition is the only way they can win…

    The DOJ finally got one right…

  9. “Result in billions of additional investment and tens of thousands of jobs”. Really? How? Cause anytime I’ve seen a corporate merger what actually happens is a mass culling of positions largely based on overlap and redundancy as the companies merged.

    1. Right, it will result in tens of thousands of jobs, they just aren’t mentioning the hundreds of thousands of jobs they’ll cut!
      This backhanded, careful wording has pissed me off from the start, it’s NET jobs created that’s important, and that’s what they don’t want to talk about, wonder why?

  10. ATT is cracking me up. Does anyone know what spectrum exhaustion is? And then they say this merger would provide 4g lte to 55million more americans or 97%? Last I checked, 55 million is not 97% of Americans OR cell phone users. ALSO, it will result in 10’s of thousands of jobs? What about all the tmobile employees? You can’t call giving 10000 tmobile employees new jobs as ATT employees “creating jobs”.

  11. “…we have met repeatedly with the Department of Justice and there was no indication from the DOJ that this action was being contemplated.”

    Translation: “WTF guys? We gave you those bribes in good faith”

  12. As much as I love more competition, I believe that this merger should be allowed to go through. I am not a big fan of Government getting in the way of business.

    1. Even at the expense of consumers? That thinking is exactly what’s wrong with this country.

    2. Romma, surely your statement has limits – and this merger deal is just still inside your tolerances.

      “Business” created superfund sites and polluted water bodies (and only government could have responded), made millions of families retirement funds in the $ Billions vaporize (Enron, etal.), Wall Street Bankers acting amorally and without conscience… examples ad nauseum.

      Me? Maybe if AT&T wasn’t caught lying it might seem palatable. Give me diversity, or give us all a slow lingering hot death. (how is your local broadband choice?) Go DOJ!

      1. That was probably the most well thoughtout and written statement as to why the Doj’s action is was exceptable in the current situation. Though we might have conflicting views on how the case should turn out thank you for writing something intelligent rather then half minded drible about how AT&T sucks and your stupid if you think other wise. I’m not joking you are both a gentleman and a scholar. Seriously 80% of these posts add nothing more then why AT&T sucks and add nothing constructive.

  13. I hope it doesn’t go through!

  14. The main point that they have yet to address is the loss of a competitor to keep prices down, they are tippy toeing around that issue

    1. Not really tippy toeing as much as trying to bury it under a mound of spin.

  15. AT&T benefits from this deal, ONLY AT&T. I am very happy the DOJ sees thru the bull shit that AT&T was feeding them. Hopefully if and when this is finally rejected T-Mobile can use the $$ and spectrum they gain to make a real attempt in this US market. We need T-Mobile. Being a long time T-Mobile customer who was with them when EDGE was their fastest data speed is now on HSPA+ with download speeds hovering at around 9.5mb and upload speeds at 3.5mb during peak hours. Those are great numbers. If any customer living in their HSPA+ area has a chance to try T-Mobile out, do it you will be very happy.
    Great job DOJ.

  16. In case you want to read the actual case filing, it is here:

  17. bwah ha ha ha, AT&T. You suck.

  18. Bull shit art you know damn well this will benefit only your pocket while screwing us all unlubricated plus we need jobs HERE IN THE US not India! I am so relieved to here this. I just hope it does not get over turned. I’m a tmo customer and went through the merger with cingulair I won’t do it again or get stuck with shitty service coverage prices extra!

  19. No you lie. Another greedy lying corporation? ESPECIALLY not a cell phone company? Holy shit can’t be. Oddly ironic one lying cheating group harboring ill towards another one. What is this world coming to?

  20. AT&Ts idea:

    “We have a LOT of money to spend and we have a problem to fix.

    Option A: Build a network and spend lots of time or money

    Option B: Buy a network that fixes Option A as well as get all the customers, etc

    Option B is easier, and possibly cheaper!

    1. apparently it would only cost AT&T only $3 billion to built out their network, according to their own internal documents that surfaced a few weeks back.

  21. How did the previously promised “5,000 jobs” created from this merger turn into “tens of thousands of jobs” as soon as the DOJ pushed back? Amazing how a little resistance can, at a minimum, quadruple the benefit!

  22. Wow!!!!! This comment is totally relevant and not spam at all!!!!!!!!!!

  23. “We remain confident that this merger is in the best interest of consumers and our country, and the facts will prevail in court.”

    I don’t know what AT&T is on, but they need to come back down to earth. No one wants this merger. Even AT&T customers hate AT&T.

    1. I’m on AT&T and I don’t hate it. actually it is alot better then Verizon from sales right down to tech support. Trust me it’s not like it’s all rainbows unicorns with them but it is alot better all around then then other companys and that’s my honest opinion.

  24. yea!!! the enormous benefits for whom though?

  25. “We plan to ask for an expedited hearing so the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed.”

    They want an expedited hearing, meaning they want a fast decision to be made after a relatively short time in court where they can quickly list all the supposed benefits and not let their opposition have the thorough amount of time to properly analyze, and most likely reject as non-sense whatever poppycock AT&T is spitting out as fact… hmmmm, sure, that makes sense

  26. hahahaha I though it was going to be a cold day in hell before this happened. I was for sure AT&T had greased the political wheels with enough pirates booty to ensure this would make it through. I am a AT&T customer and I don’t want this to go through. AT&T doesn’t need T-mobile, it is not about upgrading their network. It is more about eliminating competition to gain market share the easy way, by buying it. The market would be hurt far more by giving AT&T this power.

  27. well all i know how many of you guys cant even buy a clue on this matter.

  28. I had att before had never had verizon so thought dropped calls were normal until I switched to verizon. Att has never invested in their network even after acquiring cingular so they deserve what they have by never putting the customers first.

    1. Cingular (or Bell South) actually bought AT&T. They decided to go with the AT&T name because it’s a better known name.

  29. I blame Obama.

  30. Has anybody besides me noticed that nowhere in their response did they deny or even attempt to deny that the proposed merger would increase prices and stall growth and technological advancement. Which it will. I hope that the Govt. sticks to it’s guns for once!

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