You have to appreciate the times when government officials see through the smoke and mirrors and actually make what seems to be a reasonable decision. The FCC put our a draft order today giving AT&T a piece of its mind. They rejected practically every part of AT&T’s argument for why the acquisition of T-Mobile should be allowed through. The FCC says that the merger would reduce jobs rather than AT&T’s claim that it would create them and would kill wireless competition in 99 of the 100 largest markets in the US. That on top of the simple fact that they didn’t agree that AT&T needed T-Mobile to roll out their 4G network faster.
The cherry on top is the quote GigaOm snagged from a senior FCC official:
“The record clearly shows that — in no uncertain terms — this merger would result in a massive loss of U.S. jobs and investment,”
This does not mean that the deal is dead but rather that the FCC doesn’t like the deal and doesn’t even want to bother trying to make the deal work by watering it down. They are recommending that AT&T take it to an administrative law judge which is the closest the FCC can get to saying no.
Either way it looks like AT&T still has quite a few hoops to jump through before they even get to that judge. So anybody want to take bets on if or when AT&T will call off the acquisition?