updated 02:50 pm EDT, Tue March 29, 2011
New York Attorney General to check ATT T-Mobile
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Tuesday that his office would investigate AT&T's buyout of T-Mobile. He promised a "thorough review" and stressed that it was important to have low-cost service that might be at risk after AT&T bought out the usually more affordable smaller carrier. New York also had its state-specific issues, as Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse were limited in their competitive choices, a fact AT&T largely sidestepped in its merger presentation.
Smartphones and other future handhelds were a "bridge to the digital broadband future" for which all New Yorkers needed reasonable access, he said.
AT&T has tried to pitch the takeover as favorable for the US by reducing the pressure for more spectrum, giving T-Mobile users a route to LTE-based 4G, and increasing the likelihood of faster Internet access in rural areas. However, it used only the top 20 urban areas as proof of a plurality of competitors when some carriers, including significant ones like Sprint, Cricket, and US Cellular, often can't or don't serve in key areas.
Sprint has publicly opposed the deal and brought out concerns AT&T has mostly understated, such as that it would have 79 percent of postpaid (regular subscriber) customers after the deal and feared the US would effectively be returning back to the days of the AT&T monopoly that necessitated a government-mandated breakup in the 1980s.
The FCC and the US Department of Justice are also required to investigate the deal and may at least impose conditions or reject the merger regardless of New York state's decisions.