The $39 million proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile is the deal regulators love to hate, or at least view with extreme suspicion. The U.S. Department of Justice has demanded more information, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also promised an investigation.
This action by the NY AG signals a whole new set of hurdles, since states, as well as the feds, have the right to investigate a proposed merger. Other state AGs may join the fun, using their leverage to seek concessions that would serve their residents’ interests.
The Federal Communications Commissions is also investigating, and the deal can’t go forward without its approval. Not only that, Sprint Nextel is doing its best to block the merger, despite once having been two separate mobile giants itself. That company promises to bring state public service commissions around the country into the fray.
It’s pretty clear that closing the deal will take much longer than the year AT&T predicted when it first announced the move–if it happens at all. AT&T claims it needs T-Mobile to serve users’ increasing need for data. But we think users are just as happy with the free wi-fi AT&T is rolling out across the country to alleviate congestion.