Originally published: March 23, 2011
Last updated: April 28, 2011 - 11:35am
AT&T’s announcement this week that it was acquiring T-Mobile USA was touted by the companies as a move that would strengthen and expand the nation’s mobile broadband infrastructure. But industry experts are at odds on what kind of impact, if any, this union of telecom giants will have on local government customers.
Although AT&T was confident competitiveness among wireless carriers would remain after the merger, citing statistics that five or more providers are available in 18 of the top 20 U.S. markets, local government advocates remain somewhat skeptical, as just three major national cellular carriers -- Verizon Wireless, AT&T and the much smaller Sprint -- are still in the market. Gerard Lederer, an attorney with Miller and Van Eaton -- a law firm that represents clients in the areas of local government and telecommunications -- said he’s recommending that his government clients think about the budget implications the merger could have on the local level. “All of the issues that consumers face apply equally to local governments, [except that] the multiplier effect of a bad deal can be that much greater,” Lederer said.
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