AT&T has severely criticised the proposed $20 billion merger between BT and MCI in a document sent to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last Friday. The FCC is currently examining the BT and MCI link-up.
It wants assurances that access between the US and the UK is open and equal.
The company is taking issue with BT?s position on cross-Atlantic calls. Currently non-BT customers calling the US have to dial a separate code to gain access whereas BT customers can call direct. Also BT owns the telephone lines nearest to homes and offices in the UK.
That means BT can charge operators who need to access those lines to deliver services to their customers.
?Will BT discriminate between MCI and other carriers over what it charges? We are asking the FCC to safeguard free competition. BT could abuse its dominant position. It could offer MCI more attractive rates,? said an AT&T spokesperson.
In the document AT&T urged: ?Unless BT?s market power is constrained, the interests of US consumers are likely to be impaired by the proposed merger. Specifically, BT?s acquisition of control of MCI should be approved only subject to conditions that minimise the ability of BT to use improperly its market power to discriminate in favour of MCI and distort competition in the US.?
BT said it was considering its response to the document.
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