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Summary:

Plenty of folks have come forward to oppose the proposed merger of AT&T (NYSE: T) and T-mobile, but none of them have the clout of the merge…

At&t And T Mobile Logos On iPhone

Plenty of folks have come forward to oppose the proposed merger of AT&T (NYSE: T) and T-mobile, but none of them have the clout of the merger’s newest opponent.

Senator Herb Kohl–the chairman of the Senate committee that deals with antitrust law–sent a letter today to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, saying that the deal would just replace the monopoly that AT&T used to have over the phone system “with a near-duopoly of AT&T and Verizon.” The letter was also sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, according to a Reuters (NYSE: TRI) report.

Critically, Kohl said that regulators looking at the deal should be look at the telecommunications market as a single, national market–not a series of local markets, as often happens in regulatory review.

It’s important to note that while Kohl may be powerful when it comes to antitrust policy in the U.S. generally, he doesn’t have any direct control over whether this merger is approved. That will be up to the usual antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

But Kohl’s statement will influence the public debate on the issue; and as chairman, he could hold hearings on the issue and make more of a ruckus.

AT&T told Politico that it thinks the deal will still get approved. The company also made Kohl’s view sound like a minority opinion, stating: “[W]e feel his view is inconsistent with antitrust law, is shared by few others and ignores the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction.”

AT&T’s spin is sounding a bit stretched there. The merger does have some important supporters, including a coalition of big tech companies like Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Facebook, as well as certain labor unions. But the pool of supporters wasn’t large to begin with and seems to be shrinking, not growing.

  1. Radio Free Omaha Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Here’s the rest of the AT&T quote:
    “[W]e feel his view is inconsistent with antitrust law, is shared by few others and ignores the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction. Besides, we have the Retardlickons in the bag. They’ll do their usual thing–tell the public they’re looking out for them, whereas the Rs are as good as on our payroll, and tell them they’re standing up against ‘government regulation’–which of course is the only thing protecting the public from corporations like us. And the morons we count on to vote Retardlickon will rally, and swing enough of the weak-willed Dumbocrats to vote pro. So we’re in. We’re already planning how much we’ll be able to raise prices given the further lack of competition, and how many jobs we can cut to make ourselves even more money. And of course all the other corporations love us–even fewer jobs, even more desperation on the part of the growing serf class…they used to be called the middle class, but with Retardlickon help Corporate America is achieving its goal of a society of a few incredibly rich, and everyone else just serfs. And with the serfs’ growing desperation they won’t have time to support the unions, and so employers everywhere no longer having to compete with union companies will be able to pay even less in salaries, and offer even fewer benefits, to their serfs. Thank god for the Morons of America! We just bleat ‘cost savings!” and they see gold, and we bleat ‘government regulation!’ and they see evil, and like sheep they do our bidding. And we thank them for giving us all that more money that actually is rightfully theirs, and we thank them for making all their serf jobs even crummier. Really, we do thank them–without their help, there’s no way we’d be able to destroy their lives like we do.”

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