Monday, February 21, 2005

SBC & AT&T Argue that Merger in Public Interest

SBC and AT&T filed papers with the FCC kicking off the formal federal review process aimed at determining that the merger is in the public interest. The companies noted that so far, more than 260 consumer, business and civic organizations, as well as state and federal elected officials, have announced their support for the merger.

In the joint filing, the companies argue that the merger is a response to rapid technological changes, extraordinary competition in the marketplace and financial pressures - including the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and more than $2 trillion in market value - that have marked the telecommunications industry the past few years.

The companies' filing states "the merger will produce numerous tangible public interest benefits, and it will enhance, not harm, competition in every sector." Specifically, the filing claims:

  • The public will benefit from creation of a U.S. communications company with global reach. AT&T's network, which spans more than 50 countries, and AT&T Labs' technological prowess will be combined with SBC's financial strength and local exchange, broadband and wireless capabilities - resulting in a positive impact on investment, employment and productivity for the U.S. economy, benefiting all Americans.

  • The merger will strengthen national security. AT&T in particular serves numerous government customers, including the White House, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and numerous states from Alaska to New York. This transaction will result in a robust communications company with the resources and expertise necessary to continue to serve those customers with leading-edge services.

  • The combined company will be an engine of innovation and investment across the country, speeding the delivery of existing services to customers who might otherwise wait years for them, and prompting the development of new services that would otherwise not exist. The combined company will have greater incentives and ability to provide the fruits of its investment in research and development to all customers.

  • And because of the merger, the capabilities, reliability and efficiency available to the largest business and government customers should flow to residential and small business customers. "

Edward E. Whitacre Jr., chairman and CEO of SBC, said "This is a natural and healthy evolution of a dynamic, competitive and restructuring communications industry. It is a direct response to a new competitive reality - and to retail and business customers who have so many more choices in communications today than 10 years ago, when the last federal telecom laws were passed."


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