Yesterday, the FCC asked AT&T for more information about the why it needs T-Mobile USA so badly. This followed the ‘accidental’ posting of an un-redacted document of a couple weeks ago detailing AT&T’s decision not to spend $3.8B to expand its LTE network to reach 97% of the population from the 80% currently anticipated. That shot an obvious logical hole in the company’s claim that it needs to spend $39B to buy T-Mobile to accomplish the same task or else doom 17% of the population to slow downloads.
But there’s a logical problem in the way the press is reporting all this. The document wasn’t supposed to be made public, but it *was* supposed to be read by the FCC. So the information in front of the commission hasn’t actually changed, and hence it doesn’t follow that the accidental disclosure to the public prompted the FCC’s request for more information. Logically, they would have done it anyway, right? It’s just we readers who weren’t supposed to know.
Unless of course, they were going to rubber stamp things after extracting some token promises and divestments and now they just need to ask a few more questions first before continuing with the plan. Naah. That would be too cynical…
But the elephant in the room is that AT&T’s spectrum justifications for the T-Mobile deal have always been more smoke than fire, designed to offer cover to well-paid politicians in the form of broadband-for-all. Everyone knows it – the commissioners, AT&T, Sprint, the press, everyone. The underlying driver for the deal has never been AT&T’s dreams to serve us all better and bring broadband to everyone, but rather the basic corporate desire to be bigger and make more money. All else is illusion.
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