Yesterday was the day of the big Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, and one of the biggest things to take away from the whole session is that this deal won't simply slide through the regulatory process without encountering any kind of friction. Several Senators voiced their concerns about the merger, saying that if it's approved, a combined AT&T-Mobile has the potential to harm competition in the wireless industry. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin said that the deal has "profound implications,'" including raising prices for consumers and turning the market into a duopoly. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse also appeared to testify against the acquisition, saying that allowing AT&T and T-Mobile to merge would make it very difficult for his company to compete and would ultimately put it in a position to be acquired.
Unsurprisingly, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm did their best to portray the deal in the best light possible. Stephenson said that, if the merger is approved, it will "benefit consumers in many ways," and both executives claimed that they need to come together in order to keep up with consumer demand for mobile data.
It's not surprising to see the AT&T-Mobile deal put under so much scrutiny considering how vocal its opposition has been, but I'm still glad to see that the deal isn't just getting approved and shoved out the door without being critiqued at all. Of course, we're still around a year or so away from actually learning whether or not the acquisition will be approved, so be prepared to hear more arguments both for and against it going forward. Now that the hearing is over and we've heard both sides begin to state their cases, have any of you changed your stance on AT&T's potential purchase of T-Mobile?