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Gov. Brownback

ATT/T-Mobile block applauded by Brownback

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.

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