CINGULAR- AT&T WIRELESS MERGER
The exit of AT&T Communications, the largest competitive local exchange carrier and provider of long distance service to residential customers, from the residential market is the strongest evidence to date that the decision of the Federal Communications Commission and the White House not to defend the Triennial Review Order spells the end of landline competition for local residential telephone service.
The Cingular/AT&T Wireless merger is currently being reviewed by the FCC and the Department of Justice. Since SBC and Bell South are the owners of Cingular, which is seeking to become the largest wireless carrier in the nation by buying up AT&T Wireless Inc, this merger represents another potentially anticompetitive blow to consumers. It removes the largest unaffiliated competitor from the wireless market and transfers it to local phone companies that dominate about half the country. In light of recent developments in local telephone markets, this merger requires very careful scrutiny.
This paper shows that if antitrust authorities take a close look, they will conclude that the merger is anticompetitive from every angle. The merger will harm consumers, is not in the public interest and should be blocked or subject to extensive restructuring if it is approved.
To read Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union’s position on the merger, click here.