Petitions Filed With FCC on Cingular's AT&T Buyout
By Eric Lin, Tue May 04 22:00:00 GMT 2004

Yesterday was the final day for interested parties to file challenges to Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless with the FCC. This is the last step before a final verdict can be rendered.

Petitions to deny the merger were filed by the Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America, who believe the merger will yield "an unacceptable level of concentration at the national level," according to a report from RCR News. After the buyout, Cingular would own just over a quarter of all US subscribers, while Verizon wireless already has about a fifth.

Some Cingular resellers (agents) have also petitioned against the buyout. They feel that Cingular has misrepresented to the agents on more than one occasion, and are not above repeating this with the FCC. It seems odd that Cingular's own resellers feel they have nothing to gain from a larger customer base and an expanded network.

The Communication Workers of America, who we would have guessed would file against the buyout, actually leant their support for it in another twist. The CWA is pleased with how Cingular manages and treats their employees. They don't say anything about a possible reduction in labor force, but instead stress how the merger could improve service.

These petitions seem to be a normal part of the merger or buyout process. It is unlikely that any of them presents a strong enough argument to actually sway the FCC's decision.