FCC will allow AT&T to withdraw application for approval of T-Mobile acquisition

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| November 29, 2011

AT&T logo

Good news for AT&T from the FCC today (for a change) as the agency has announced that it will indeed allow the withdrawal of AT&T's application for approval of its T-Mobile acquisition. AT&T announced that it would be withdrawing the application last week, but since then there have been some concerns about whether or not the FCC would actually allow the withdrawal to happen.

It wasn't all kind words and sunshine for AT&T during the FCC's conference call announcing the decision, though, as the agency claimed that it still has reasons to be concerned about the merger. The FCC claimed that if the merger were to be approved, there would be substantial job losses and that any cost savings brought on by the deal's completion wouldn't be passed on to the consumer. Additionally, the FCC said that it believes that AT&T is likely to upgrade the entirety of its HSPA+ network to LTE regardless of whether or not the deal goes through, despite the fact that AT&T has said that it would need T-Mobile's spectrum in order to cover more than 80 percent of the country with LTE.

Although AT&T said last week that it would "challenge" the FCC if the agency decided not to allow withdrawal of the T-Mobile application, I'm sure that AT&T is still glad that it'll be able to take back the app without any hassle. Now that the withdrawal will happen, AT&T can focus more of its energy on its legal battle with the Department of Justice. The next hearing in that case is scheduled for December 9th, with the full trial set to kick off in February. It's worth noting that the FCC has drafted a 105-page report on the acquisition that will be released to the public today and will also be given to the Justice Department for use in its case against AT&T. So, uh, does it feel like it's just gotten a bit hotter in here or is that just me?

Via Phone Scoop, Wall Street Journal, @SaschaSegan