By Gautham Nagesh - 06/24/11 09:47 PM EDT
The advocacy group Public Knowledge was quick to point out the lawmakers stopped short of endorsing the deal but instead encourage the FCC and DOJ to conduct a thorough and expeditious review. President Gigi Sohn argued the firms have mislead lawmakers with regards to the deal's benefits.
"Nothing is to be gained from this deal except that a major competitor to AT&T will be removed from the market, resulting in higher consumer prices and less innovation," Sohn said. "We are disappointed that the members of Congress who signed the letter did not view this aspect of the deal more closely.”
Opponents argue the merger would leave AT&T and Verizon Wireless as the dominant mobile carriers, with Sprint a distant third. They fear reduced competition will lead to higher prices and less innovation, particularly with the loss of low-cost competitor T-Mobile.
Beyond the 4G commitment, proponents of the merger argue T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom must inevitable sell due to its inability to invest sufficient resources to upgrade the carrier's network. AT&T is also the only unionized major wireless carrier, a key selling point for many Democrats.