*(Via LA Times) – T-Mobile on Wednesday continued to push the boundaries of what defines a mobile carrier by announcing Mobile Money, a new personal finance service that lets customers store and manage their money with the Seattle-based company.
Customers who sign up for Mobile Money are essentially getting a traditional checking account.
*(Via SFgate) – AT&T Inc.’s $39 billion bid to acquire Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA came to an end Monday (12-19-11) in a phone call between the companies’ chief executive officers, according to people familiar with the matter.
AT&T’s Randall Stephenson and Deutsche Telekom’s Rene Obermann ultimately agreed the costs of continuing to fight for the deal unveiled nine months earlier were too high, given the opposition from U.S. regulators, the people said. AT&T’s bid to close the year’s biggest acquisition and become the largest U.S. wireless carrier was over.
“They made an unprecedented move bidding on T-Mobile and appear to have miscalculated the risks and the regulatory opposition,” said Kevin Smithen, an analyst with Macquarie Capital USA Inc.
AT&T failed to convince the Justice Department, which sued to block the transaction in August, that it could remedy the market impact of absorbing T-Mobile, the nation’s No. 4 mobile- phone operator. AT&T would have spent months in litigation to try to win court approval, and the company also faced possible opposition from the Federal Communications Commission.
*It’s a no-go on the proposed $39 billion AT&T takeover of rival T-Mobile USA because he US Justice department filed suit to block it, according to Wall Street Journal report.
At a news conference Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the combination would result in tens of millions of consumers facing fewer choices and lower-quality products.
The deal has faced tough opposition from consumer groups and No. 3 carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. since it was announced in March.
The antitrust challenge comes shortly after the Obama administration also blocked Nasdaq’s proposed offer for NYSE Euronext and is further evidence of its desire to put new teeth into antitrust enforcement.
*A national coalition representing the nation’s leading African American organizations filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission recently in support of AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
In its federal filing, the coalition argued that a completed deal would provide African Americans enhanced access to the most technologically advanced tools available to more effectively compete for business opportunities and better jobs.
While the African American community continues to face unemployment rates higher than the national average, limited access to quality health care, near second class educational opportunities, and inconsistent access to the fastest wireless Internet connections – despite high usage rates – this merger could be the antidote to several community challenges.
“AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile has the potential to benefit consumers, communities and workers alike. AT&T has been among the highest ranked in the telecommunications industry for its commitment to diversity in terms of procurement, philanthropy, promotion and hiring at the federal, state and local levels,” NAACP Senior Vice President Hilary Shelton said. “Wireless broadband is an integral tool in promoting civic engagement and as such is crucial to voter empowerment. We are hopeful that this acquisition will further advance increased access to affordable and sustainable wireless broadband services and in turn stimulate job creation throughout our country.”
Sharon Weston Broome, Chairwoman, NOBEL Women was one of leading intergovernmental organizations that pledged their support. Collectively, the signatory groups represent the approximately 40 million African Americans in the United States.
A recent study by the Pew Research Institute shows that roughly 90 percent of African Americans own a cell phone and more than 60 percent are wireless Internet users. Despite being at the technological forefront, however, many African American users frequently contend with substandard and inconsistent access on congested urban wireless networks or limited offerings in rural areas.
*When the Bell telephone system – aka AT&T – was broken up in 1984, consumers were told this would be a good thing because it would increase competition.
When the U.S. telecommunications market was deregulated in 1996, consumers were told this would be a good thing because it would increase competition.
And now AT&T wireless is planning to merge with T-Mobile, the latest in a string of acquisitions that effectively restores Ma Bell to her former girth yet allows the company to operate in a looser regulatory environment.
Consumers might wonder if they’ve been played.
“There’s no way this latest merger can be good for consumers,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “This places a lot of power in the hands of only a few companies.”
That’s not how AT&T’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, sees it. He said the $39-billion deal with T-Mobile will create “significant customer, shareowner and public benefits” that will “better meet our customers’ current demands.”
The reality, however, is that the most competitive segment of the telecom market – wireless service – will now have one fewer player, and we are a big step closer to a marketplace controlled by only two companies, AT&T and Verizon.