By The Hill Staff - 05/04/11 04:21 PM EDT
"The [Federal Communications Commission, the Justice Department], and my subcommittee all need to very, very carefully scrutinize the merger, how it's going to impact the price of wireless voice and data services, its impact on the special access market, and whether there will be sufficient competition on a market-by-market basis to provide consumers with a choice in next generation wireless broadband," she said.
Eshoo, whose Silicon Valley district includes Google and other top tech companies, says she hears repeatedly from her constituents that they'd like to see more competition in the telecom industry.
"Just because you're gigantic, just saying you're competitive and you offer choice is not [enough], I don't think," Eshoo said.
She also raised concerns that telecom industry lobbying can sway the Congress against "common sense," pointing in particular to net-neutrality rules that are opposed by House Republicans.
AT&T says its merger will not be anticompetitive and points to the number of small and medium-sized wireless companies who provide service at the local level.
The company says the merger will improve service for its customers while promoting competition. It also pledges to expand wireless broadband access to more of the population.
The telecom giant disputes that prices will necessarily rise as a result of the merger, pointing to studies that show an increase in consolidation coinciding with lower prices for wireless service.
The FCC and the Justice Department are reviewing the merger, and are expected to take over a year.