The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to deal a critical blow to AT&T's chances of acquiring the US branch of Deutsche Telekom-owned wireless carrier T-Mobile.
Reports from both The New York Times and Associated Press say FCC chair Julius Genachowski is looking to stop the proposed $39bn (£26bn) deal between AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
The FCC has been reviewing the deal for several months. In July the commission halted its investigation and requested AT&T provide further details on its plans for integrating its operation with T-Mobile USA.
Such a move would add the FCC to an already long list of parties opposed to the deal. Along with rival firms such as Sprint and consumer advocacy groups, the US Department of Justice has filed suit to stop the merger.
Critics of the deal have charged that the acquisition will further consolidate wireless services in the US and further limit consumers' ability to drive competition among carriers.
Industry analyst Rob Enderle told V3 that should its proposed deal with T-Mobile USA fall through, AT&T will be left with few options in regards to acquisition targets.
"If they cannot do T-Mobile they sure as heck cannot [acquire] Sprint, so they are pretty much done with regard to mergers in the US, and moving overseas means they'd have to deal with regulation there," Enderle explained.
"In the end, the risk of Verizon following by buying Sprint made this T-Mobile merger just too risky for the feds and likely made sure it could not be allowed to happen."
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