Over at The American, Entropy Economics president Bret Swanson (he’s also an IIA Broadband Ambassador) has penned an op-ed on the FCC’s efforts to stop the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. Stating the FCC (and the Obama administration) have “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory,” Swanson writes:
Only in Washington could such an ideal marriage look bad. The chief challenge of the U.S. wireless industry is not competition. Prices are dropping and consumers are gobbling up mobile devices and services. The big obstacles are capacity and coverage. But even if we grant the FCC’s old-school priority of a kind of perfect competition in a mature industry, its case still makes no sense. Deutsche Telekom is getting out of the business. If T-Mobile is not a viable competitor, then how does AT&T’s acquisition of it “reduce competition”? Moreover, as spectrum-hobbled companies, AT&T and T-Mobile couldn’t effectively compete in 4G services with more spectrum-rich Verizon and Sprint-Clearwire. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the FCC wants someone else to get T-Mobile’s assets and will decide who that someone is. Central planning at its finest.