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In the ever-escalating debate over AT&T’s $39 billion T-Mobile takeover, you can now count tech giants including Microsoft, Facebook and 10 venture capital firms among supporters of the deal.
Letters of support from the firms were filed with the FCC on Monday, the New York Times reports, with Friday being the deadline for supporting comments. That means we’ll likely see other firms jumping in to support the deal throughout the week. The deadline for opposing comments, which would join with criticism from Sprint and consumer advocate groups, was last week.
In general, the firms supported AT&T’s notion that buying T-Mobile will help to improve its network and ultimately deliver better mobile broadband to consumers across the country. Last week at the D9 conference, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega argued that combining the two carrier’s networks would equal five to ten years’ worth of individual network improvements in New York City and San Francisco.
“Many policy-related efforts will not be able to quickly address near-term capacity needs,” the Microsoft-led group wrote. “The F.C.C. must seriously weigh the benefits of this merger and approve it.”
Other companies lending their support to the deal on Monday include BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, Yahoo and Oracle. The VC firms include Sequoia Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. It’s not that surprising that big tech companies and VC firms would support the deal when they have much to gain from it.
Opponents to the deal argue that, as useful as it would be to have AT&T’s network almost instantly improved, it would be harmful to both competition and innovation among US cellular carriers.
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