Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has moved to block the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. Cnet reports that Genachowski has filed an order asking the four other FCC commissioners to vote to have an administrative law judge hear the case. In such a proceeding, the FCC would present its findings and analysis, and AT&T would be given an opportunity to prove its case, although the burden would be on the carrier to prove that the deal is in the public interest. According to the report, FCC officials have not shared many specifics from their report, but have said that the merger would create an “unprecedented” level of concentration in the wireless market, and that it is impossible to see how the deal could serve the public.
In response to the filing, AT&T continued to defend the deal, arguing that the merger would help the company expand its 4G network more quickly and would create jobs. “The FCC’s action today is disappointing,” Larry Solomon, senior vice president of corporate communications at AT&T, said in a statement. “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 US economy desperately needs both.” The merger has already come under fire from rival carrier Sprint, which has sued to try and stop it, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed its own complaint in August.