MCI Worldcom today added its voice to the growing forum of concern among telecomms carriers over the proposed BT-AT&T alliance.
Speaking at the FT World Telecommunications conference in London, MCI chairman Bert Roberts said there are many parts of the proposed $11 billion joint venture that require close scrutiny by regulators.
BT has a dominant position in the UK, and AT&T is dominant on many global routes and landing points, said Roberts. "In these regions, I urge a close review," he said.
Roberts said BT and AT&T would have a "very heavy hand on the water spigot", making an analogy between telephone and water access.
MCI itself came under fire from regulators earlier this year ahead of its merger with Worldcom. Regulators in Europe and the US eventually forced MCI to sell off its Internet business before permitting the transaction.
Cable & Wireless, buyer of MCI's Internet business, has expressed its own concerns about the proposed BT-AT&T alliance, complaining that it will unfairly dominate some markets including transAtlantic traffic.
Cable & Wireless has already expressed its objections to the European Commission, and is expected to submit a more detailed account this week.
The European Commission last week said it was extending its investigation into possible anti-competitive aspects of the BT-AT&T alliance. The Commission's review could last until April 1999. BT and AT&T anticipate closing the alliance in October 1999 at the earliest.
BT told 'Newswire' last week that it was not in any way suprised by Cable & Wireless' complaints and that it had expected more carriers to follow.
Last year's proposed merger between BT and MCI collapsed after a price couldn't be agreed. MCI subsequently found Worldcom and left BT stranded without a major US partner - something it is hoping to find with AT&T.
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