In a brief departure from his usual anti-regulation rhetoric, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback applauded the recent decision by the U.S. Dept. of Justice to block a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.
Brownback issues a statement along with Rep. Kevin Yoder that said that such a merger “could threaten telecom related jobs, potentially having a negative impact on the local economy,” particularly the Kansas City area. Sprint-Nextel, a major competitor of both AT&T and T-Mobile, is headquartered in Overland Park.
Central to Brownback and Yoder’s statement was a request that the FCC delay any review of the merger until the Justice Department finished its actions with AT&T, which vowed to “vigorously contest” the decision.
The possible success of the Dept. of Justice’s challenge is unclear. The lawsuit gestured towards T-Mobile’s self-defined image as a rogue brand that seeks to force mobile service prices down through competition. A merger with AT&T would be counter to this position.
At the same time, AT&T has charged that absorbing even so strong a player as T-Mobile would leave numerous challengers still in the industry.