US President Barack Obama has received a letter from 15 US politicians calling for his administration to approve the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.
The letter, put forward by member of congress Heath Shuler and 14 other Democrats, said that the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA would help solve America’s job crisis by reducing unemployment, encouraging private investment and promoting new and innovative technologies that will drive job creation.
“AT&T has announced plans to repatriate 5,000 jobs that are currently being performed overseas. In addition, a recent SITE study has shown that the merger will create somewhere between 55,000 and 96,000 new jobs to integrate the two networks and upgrade facilities,” the letter read.
It added that the merger will encourage new private investment to deploy wireless high speed internet access services to 97 per cent of the US population. Coverage of this magnitude will necessitate an additional $8bn investment from AT&T over and above its current industry leading capital investments, the politicians argued.
“Finally, the deployment of next generation, wireless broadband is the type of investment in new and innovative technology that will drive job creation for years to come,” the letter continued, adding: ”A recent study by Deloitte predicts that next generation wireless broadband buildout by the wireless industry will create 371,000 to 771,000 jobs and GDP growth between $73bn and $151bn by 2016. AT&T’s proposed merger commitment to make available this new technology to 98 per cent of the nation’s population will be a key component of the industry buildout.”
However, Public Knowledge, a Washington-based public interest advocacy organisation, said that the deal would be bad for the US economy, consumers and technological innovation.
“We thought the issues of job creation and investment had long been settled. It is perfectly clear that AT&T’s history has been to destroy jobs, not to create them. The company has shed 10,000 jobs a year for the past ten years. There is no reason to believe that the takeover of T-Mobile will do anything to change that dynamic,” said Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of the organisation.
“To the contrary, T-Mobile has created jobs at the same time AT&T has cut them. And by removing T-Mobile’s investment, the amount of money spent on improving the wireless networks will be less, not more.”
Will regulators ever be able to catch up with the rate of change in the telco/tech industry?
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