FCC Approves AT&T's $85 Billion Acquisition of BellSouth

Well, it has been approved today, after the removal of a key hurdle yesterday with AT&T making some major concessions, says a WSJ alert. The agency approved the deal, the largest ever in U.S. telecom history, by a unanimous 4-0 vote. The merger creates a behemoth that will have a market capitalization of over $220 billion — more than double that of nearest rival Verizon Communications — and will serve over 70 million local phone customers in 22 states, as well as 10 million broadband users.
AT&T will also take full control of cellphone operator Cingular Wireless, which has been a joint venture with BellSouth. AT&T is expected to begin phasing out the Cingular brand beginning early next year, replacing it with the AT&T moniker.
Update: Washington Post: “Unequaled in capital and geographic reach, the new AT&T could be a tough adversary for cable companies by offering television service over the Internet, possibly lowering rates for customers in its service area. Several conditions imposed on the acquisition to protect consumers could encourage the availability of affordable broadband. AT&T agreed to offer high-speed Internet for $19.95 a month over the next 30 months without requiring customers to purchase phone service from the company.”

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