OVERNIGHT TECH: AT&T fighting to save T-Mobile deal

THURSDAY’S BIG STORY: AT&T is scrambling to fend off multiple attacks on its proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile. 

The company urged a federal judge Thursday to throw out lawsuits from rivals Sprint and C Spire Wireless (formerly Cellular South). AT&T argues the two wireless companies lack the appropriate legal standing to challenge the merger.

Also on Thursday, AT&T was preparing to file a statement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rebut criticism from consumer groups Public Knowledge and Free Press when it received a letter from FCC Wireless Bureau Chief Rick Kaplan. In the letter, Kaplan questions AT&T’s claim that the deal would create as many as 96,000 American jobs, saying AT&T “to date has produced almost nothing” to support the job-creation claim. 

AT&T went ahead and sent its statement to the FCC combating the consumer groups’ allegations, but added a footnote to respond to Kaplan’s letter. The company said it would issue a fuller response soon, but for now, the FCC should review AT&T’s arguments responding to the consumer groups. 

“The transaction will allow the combined company to dramatically expand network capacity, thus directly benefiting consumers by reducing dropped and blocked calls, increasing data speeds, and putting downward pressure on prices,” AT&T argues in its letter. “In the process, the merger will spur billions of dollars in additional investment, create thousands of jobs, and significantly narrow the digital divide while advancing the Administration’s rural broadband objectives.”

{mosads}Meanwhile, the Justice Department has given no indication that it is prepared to drop its lawsuit against the merger. AT&T has said it hopes to negotiate with the Justice Department to address its antitrust concerns but that it is prepared to fight the government in court.

Google beats Q3 earnings: Google announced strong results for the third quarter of 2011 on Thursday afternoon. The search giant easily beat analysts’ estimates with revenue of $9.7 billion, an increase of 33 percent from a year ago. Profits were up 26 percent over the same period, with Google shares rising 6 percent in after-hours trading.

“We had a great quarter,” said CEO Larry Page. “Revenue was up 33% year on year and our quarterly revenue was just short of $10 billion. Google+ is now open to everyone and we just passed the 40 million user mark. People are flocking into Google+ at an incredible rate and we are just getting started!” 

ON TAP FRIDAY: Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.) will tour the 911 call center in Washington, D.C., and discuss efforts to transition to next-generation 911 technology to allow people to send emergency videos and text messages.


Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced a bill that would force wireless carriers to disclose accurate data on the speed, reliability and pricing of their 4G wireless data service.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) said the hacking of Scarlett Johansson’s phone shows the need to pass the SAFE Data Act. Bono Mack also said she is trying to get Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) attention to schedule the bill for a vote.

Scrutiny of the FCC’s plan to overhaul the Universal Service Fund has ratcheted up significantly now that the commission is poised to vote in two weeks on its closely guarded plan. 

Tags Al Franken Amy Klobuchar Richard Blumenthal

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