LEE: Merger Should be Guided by What is Best for Consumers

May 11, 2011

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee said the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile to create the largest wireless carrier in the country should be reviewed carefully to ensure the best outcome for consumers.  Lee, the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee, said that he favors market approaches to developing mobile networks, but that care should be taken to ensure the merger preserves robust competition nationally and from smaller regional carriers, promotes consumer choices, and encourages innovation.

“An important question before our Subcommittee today is whether the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile is a positive step along the path to world-class wireless broadband throughout the United States,” Senator Lee said during his opening remarks this morning. “A merger between the two companies may provide significant and immediate efficiencies that will enable enhanced service quality, fewer blocked or dropped calls, and increasing data speeds.”

“At the same time, I share some of the concerns expressed by my colleague, Senator Kohl, and believe it is our responsibility—along with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Communications Commission—to ensure that the proposed merger would not produce damaging anticompetitive effects,” he added.

“A critical question, therefore, is whether the smaller regional carriers can effectively compete in a post-merger market,” Lee said, citing potential conflicts regarding the smaller carriers’ access to data roaming networks and the most popular devices, like iPhones.

Lee concluded: “Our analysis of the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile should be guided by what will be best for consumers—in the form of prices, service quality, and range of choice.”

See Senator Lee’s full remarks here>>