Tuesday, March 22, 2011

AT&T says T-Mobile merger will help rural areas

Earlier this month we reported low-cost cell-phone firm T-Mobile had joined a coalition of smaller wirelesss carriers opposing the Obama administration's National Broadband Plan on grounds it would benefit large companies. On Monday T-Mobile announced it was merging with the largest of those outfits: AT&T, which says the merger will help rural areas. AT&T's materials announcing the merger "pulled language directly from the president’s State of the Union message with references to providing wireless high-speed Internet to nearly all Americans in the next five years," Edward Wyatt of The New York Times reports.

The merger would leave AT&T and Verizon controlling almost 80 percent of the national wireless market and Sprint, the third-largest company, lagging far behind. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller was among the lawmakers to critcize the merger, calling for the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to "leave no stone unturned in determining what the impact of this combination is on the American people." To counter Rockefeller's concerns, AT&T out on its website a map, below, of how the merger would expand its service in West Virginia. (Read more)

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