Key senator opposes AT&T $39B purchase of T-Mobile

July 20, 2011 - 1:59 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is calling on federal regulators to block AT&T's proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA.

Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee that handles antitrust matters. He says the transaction would lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers by leaving just three national wireless carriers. He notes that two of those carriers — AT&T and Verizon Wireless — would control nearly 80 percent of the market.

He says that by eliminating T-Mobile, the merger would remove the one carrier offering less expensive prices and rate plans.

Thus, he says, the acquisition "would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers."

Kohl sent a letter to the Justice Department and the Federal Communication Commission on Wednesday.