FCC finds AT&T, T-Mobile merger harmful to consumers, chairman calls for trial

AT&T and T-Mobile’s proposed merger hit another potential snag today as FCC chairman Julius Genachowski moved to block the merger, calling for the decision to be taken before an administrative law judge.

Chairman Genachowski made the move after the commission decided that should AT&T and T-Mobile be allowed to merge, it would result in stifled competition and potentially kill hundreds of jobs, harming consumers.

Should Genachowski get his way, AT&T will be taken to a trial-like hearing to prove to the FCC that the merger would be in the best interest of consumers. In order for Genachowski’s draft order to go into effect, however, FCC members will have to agree to either sign off on the order, amend it or deny it entirely. There’s currently no timeline on when a decision is expected.

AT&T’s senior vice president for corporate communications, Larry Solomon, condemned Genachowski’s move in a statement, saying:

“It is yet another example of a government agency acting to prevent billions in new investment and the creation of many thousands of new jobs at a time when the U.S. economy desperately needs both,” Solomon said in a statement. “At this time, we are reviewing all options.”

[Image credit: Wired]