The Louisiana Public Service Commission has opened a proceeding allowing the general public to file comments on AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile USA, but has stopped short of beginning an investigation into the deal.
Commission spokesman Colby Cook said the state would make recommendations to federal regulators based on the comments it receives on the deal.
“If there’s a majority negative response, the staff may recommend we’re not in favor of it, but these kinds of mergers are overseen by the FCC and FTC,” Cook said.
The state’s decision to open comments on AT&T’s massive $39 billion buyout of T-Mobile came after Sprint petitioned Louisiana state officials to investigate the deal.
Sprint today also filed a formal request with the California Public Utility Commission asking it to investigate the deal. In documents obtained by Wireless Week, Sprint slams AT&T’s service in California and reiterated warnings that the company’s takeover of T-Mobile would dramatically reduce the competitiveness of the state’s wireless service.
“The proposed transaction will impose substantial harm on wireless consumers in California,” Sprint attorney Stephen Kukta said in a letter to John Leutza, director of the California Public Utilities Commission’s communications division. “It will do so by removing this country’s fourth largest national CMRS provider from the marketplace, resulting in higher prices, fewer choices, less competition and, as a result, significantly less incentive for innovation.”
AT&T shot back at Sprint, pointing out that the acquisition would allow it to expand LTE service to more than a million more California residents.
“Sprint’s letter to the CPUC merely reiterates substantially the same unfounded accusations it has been peddling to the press, to Congress, and to the FCC,” AT&T said in a statement. “We’re confident that the FCC and DOJ, after a full review of the facts, will determine that this transaction will be good for consumers, for workers, and for the economy.”
AT&T and Sprint are also duking it out with the West Virginia Public Utilities Commission about whether the state should open an investigation into the deal. Sprint wants the state to inspect how the merger would affect residents; AT&T claims the review is unnecessary and blasted Sprint for its lack of WiMAX coverage in the state.