Boucher is now a partner at the Washington, D.C. lobbying firm Sidley Austin, and was one of the most influential members of Congress on telecom issues before losing his reelection bid in 2010.
AT&T is a longtime client of Sidley Austin, and Boucher argued in favor of the merger before its failure.
Boucher said he’s baffled that regulators would block the AT&T deal after allowing the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal — which he said met the same “severe resistance” from public interest groups.
Allowing the Comcast deal while blocking AT&T’s was “a mistake,” Boucher said.
The former House Telecom subcommittee chairman noted that wireless carriers are trying to maximize a finite amount of spectrum as smartphone use surges. Blocking wireless companies from merging won't help competition when the companies involved are hamstrung by a lack of "urgently needed" capacity.
"The bottom line is those carriers need spectrum," he said.
--Updated on April 13 to reflect Boucher's ties to AT&T