By Gautham Nagesh - 04/07/11 06:22 PM EDT
The Senate Judiciary Committee's Antitrust subcommittee struck a skeptical tone with regards to AT&T's proposed merger Thursday with T-Mobile USA.
The subcommittee announced a May 11 hearing on the transaction titled "The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?"
The title is a reference to Ma Bell, the telephone monopoly in place from 1877 to 1984. Some experts such as Columbia University professor Tim Wu have argued the company stifled innovation during its reign.
AT&T has managed to reacquire many of the firms initially spun off during Ma Bell's divestiture in the 1980s. Some critics have argued the firm has all but reconstituted itself. AT&T argues the merger would allow it to accelerate broadband deployment to 95 percent of the U.S. and has vowed to do so.
If approved, the merger would leave AT&T and Verizon Wireless with the lion's share of the wireless market, with Sprint Nextel a distant third.
This story was updated at 4:20 p.m.