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AT&T presses its case for merger

Executives at AT&T attend a news conference where it was announced that AT&T Inc. will be buying its wireless rival T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG for $39 billion in cash and stock on March 21, 2011 in New York City.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: The Federal Communications Commission will get new information from AT&T today, about its proposed merger with T-Mobile. That $39 billion deal would reshape the wireless industry.

From Washington, Marketplace's David Gura reports.


David Gura: If the merger gets approved, AT&T and one other company -- Verizon -- would control four-fifths of the U.S. wireless industry. The new AT&T would have about 120 million customers.

Craig Aaron heads Free Press, a nonprofit that opposes the deal. He says it puts "too much power in too few hands."

Craig Aaron: It would be like Exxon merging with Shell, CITGO and two or three others, before you'd reach that level of concentration.

Last week, several lawmakers spoke out against the merger, which was announced last spring. Today, AT&T is expected to give the FCC some new data.

Rebecca Arbogast is an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus.

Rebecca Arbogast: The question is, are there enough good things that come out of this merger that you couldn't get some other way to justify allowing that reduction in competition?

AT&T argues it could consolidate, costs would go down and customers would benefit from a bigger, more powerful network. The company hopes the information it gives the FCC will convince the commissioners that's the case.

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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