About this time last year, AT&T’s plans to buyout T-Mobile were crumbling. Thanks to strong opposition from its competitors — namely Sprint, and the US government, the carrier was forced to withdraw its merger application from the FCC.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that AT&T is being vocal about the recently announced Softbank-Sprint-Clearwire deal. The carrier says it’s worrisome that a foreign carrier will have control over such a large chunk of US airwaves…
“Softbank’s acquisition of Sprint and the control it gains over Clearwire will give one of Japan’s largest wireless companies control of significantly more U.S. wireless spectrum than any other company,” Brad Burns, an AT&T vice president, said in a statement released late Wednesday. “We expect that fact and others will be fully explored in the regulatory review process. This is one more example of a very dynamic and competitive U.S. wireless marketplace, which is an important fact for U.S. regulators to recognize.”
For those who missed it, Softbank, one of Japan’s largest carriers, announced this week that it is going to be buying a 70% stake in Sprint for $20 billion. And as a result of that, Sprint will be taking control of long-time broadband partner Clearwire.
But AT&T’s alarm is a stark reminder that although this Softbank-Sprint deal is done in terms, there is still a lot of red tape to get through, and a lot of people have to look at this thing before it becomes official. And that could take several months.