AT&T has officially announced that its merger plan with T-Mobile is pushing up daises, but it also takes a few shots at the government for running interference to kill the deal. The $39 billion deal with T-Mobile parent company - Germany-based Deutsche Telekom - fell apart after government regulators from the FCC and the Justice Department took AT&T to task over what the company claimed the deal would accomplish. The Justice Department sued to block the deal in late August, calling it anti-competitive and warning that it could raise consumer prices. The FCC was about to engage in a similar legal action when AT&T decided to withdrawal from the process altogether.
AT&T used the announcement to lambaste the government over the head, saying that government opposition and a lack of ways to grow its airwaves was a problem for everyone in the mobile space.
“The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry,” wrote AT&T in a statement. “It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately. The AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage. In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.”
AT&T also said that it would "continue to be aggressive in leading the mobile Internet revolution," and that it has invested more money over the past four years in its networks "than any other U.S. company.”
“The mobile Internet is a dynamic industry that can be a critical driver in restoring American economic growth and job creation, but only if companies are allowed to react quickly to customer needs and market forces,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO.
The bad news for AT&T investors is that the company expects to take a serious hit because of the deal. AT&T said that it expects to take a charge of $4 billion the fourth quarter of 2011 to pay off the breakup penalty fee to Deutsche Telekom. On the plus side it expects to enter into "a mutually beneficial roaming agreement with Deutsche Telekom" too.