AT&T has agreed to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion. You already know this, and you also know that Sprint is vehemently opposed to the deal. Verizon is so far indifferent, or at least that's the face they're putting on publicly. What we don't know yet is how the FCC is going to react to the proposed acquisition, and that's what the deal ultimately hinges on. If recent comments made by an FCC official are any indication, AT&T's legal team has their work cut out for them.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, an FCC official said, "There's no way the [FCC] chairman's office rubber-stamps this transaction. It will be a steep climb to say the least."
The un-named official, who wouldn't comment on the record, pointed out that the FCC hasn't begun to formally evaluate the merger, and even though there's some initial skepticism, it's not necessarily indicative of a final ruling. As the Wall Street Journal mentions, former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said "the hurdle...will be high" for a proposed merger between Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio back in 2007. The FCC approved the deal a year later.
"We understand that Congress, the DOJ, the FCC, as well as wireless consumers will have questions about the transaction. We look forward to answering and addressing those questions," said ATUT spokesman Michael Balmoris. "We are confident the facts will demonstrate that the deal is in the public interest and that competition will continue to flourish."