AG Strange sees positives in AT&T purchase of T-Mobile

The decision by AT&T and T-Mobile to merger is being warmly greeted by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who says the new company would improve lives and communities.

The $39 billion deal is currently working its way through the regulatory process on Capitol Hill.

Strange cited the need for improved broadband access, especially in rural areas of the state in his push for final approval.

"With nearly one-third of our residents living in rural areas, this represents a significant potential benefit beyond just higher call quality and faster data downloads," the Attorney General said. "Rural residents, especially younger ones, will gain access to innovative teaching and medical programs – an important new economic advantage that can help improve access to education, healthcare and jobs."

Alabama joins 10 other states' Attorneys General in co-signing a letter to the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice, agencies that must approve the merger.

Strange said he made his decision to support the merger after listening to AT&T officials who said that if the deal was approved, the company would make significant investments to expand its 4G network  to more than 95 percent of Alabama.

The deal is not done yet, however. A key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is opposed to the plan and is seeking to block it.

Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, said if the deal was given the OK, two carriers would control 80 percent of the market - AT&T and Verizon.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the dangerous possibility that this acquisition could ultimately result in a duopoly in the national cell phone market," Kohl said.

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