by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 2:35 PM MST
BREAKING NEWS: The FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is now reported to believe that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is not in the public interest and will call for an agency judge to set up a hearing on the anti-competitive nature of the deal.
This is different from the Dept, of Justice who filed a lawsuit earlier this year in opposition. The fact that the FCC is now taking this position does not bode well for the merger.
This situation would result in an Agency Judge to oversee the case with the FCC as plaintiff recommending rejection of the merger and AT&T/T-Mobile acting as defendants. This is not a good position to be in. It's basically fighting the FCC for approval against their request to merge. It seems like an extremely difficult, if not impossible, barrier for the merger to overcome. Fighting both the FCC and the DOJ. Not to mention many states, consumer groups, an AT&T customer lawsuit and Sprint. AT&T is said to be reviewing it's options in the case.
This is seen as a huge blow to the merger and it's advocates. The last time this occurred was when EchoStar and DirecTV requested to merge in 2002. Eventually those parties decided to cancel the deal.
The information came from a leaked source, and has yet to be formalized. We will have to see if the information plays out publicly with the same spin as it came out in leaked form.
Even if AT&T were eventually triumphant in it's court battle, it'll waste lots of money and time. This could lead to even another year's delay at worst case. With no guarantee of success.
Edited with more details at 2:42 PM MST and 5:35 PM MST.