States weigh in on AT&T-T-Mobile merger

The majority of state governments have voiced an opinion on the proposed merger between T-Mobile and AT&T. Most are in favor, but a few are expressing concern.

AT&T to buy T-Mobile

Editors' note: This story was originally published on June 13. It has been updated with new information.

Almost three months to the day since AT&T first announced its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile, federal scrutiny of the deal is well under way. AT&T has filed its paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission, the public is weighing in on the FCC's Web site, and opponents and supporters are lining up.

Though the U.S. Senate has held hearings as well, only the Department of Justice and the FCC have the official power to approve or deny the merger. AT&T does not have to seek formal approval at the state level, but state governments can make the transaction more complicated if they bring antitrust lawsuits. And as CNET's Maggie Reardon has reported, states have extensive oversight over communications through the regulation of rates, cell tower placement, and consumer complaints.

That's why it doesn't hurt for AT&T to lobby for the merger not only in Washington, D.C., but also in state capitals across the country (the carrier has even gotten into a tussle with Sprint over a possible state review in West Virgina). And at the time of this writing, AT&T has been successful. Though three states are taking a closer look, 17 27 state governors have voiced their approval.

Below the governor level, the attorneys general of Arkansas, Utah, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming sent a joint letter of support to the FCC on July 27. And on September 16, the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington sent a letter opposing the merger. Months earlier, New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermanannounced that his office would "undertake a thorough review of AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile" and analyze the merger for "potential anticompetitive effects on consumers and businesses."

We'll add to this list as events unfold, but here's how the states are lining up so far.

Governors in favor

Action taken?Who sent it?Date
AlabamaLetter to FCC (All letters are in PDF format)Gov. Robert Bentley (R)June 14
ArizonaLetter to FCCGov. Jan Brewer (R)June 20
ArkansasLetter to FCCGov. Mike Beebe (D)May 23
ColoradoLetter to FCCGov. John Hickenlooper (D)May 27
ConnecticutLetter to FCCGov. Dannel P. Malloy (D)June 10
DelawareLetter to FCCGov. Jack Markell (D)June 8
FloridaLetter to FCCGov. Rick Scott (R)June 22
GeorgiaLetter to FCCGov. Nathan Deal (R)May 17
IdahoLetter to FCCGov. C.L. Otter (R)May 17
IowaLetter to FCCGov. Terry Branstad (R)May 26
KentuckyLetter to FCCGov. Steve Beshear (D)May 26
LouisianaLetter to FCCGov. Bobby Jindal (R)May 19
MaineLetter to FCCGov. Paul LePage (R)May 19
MarylandLetter to FCCGov. Martin O'Malley (D)June 20
MichiganLetter to FCCGov. Rick Snyder (R)May 19
MissouriLetter to FCCGov. Jay Nixon (D)August 12
NevadaLetter to FCCGov. Brian Sandoval (R)May 27
North CarolinaLetter to FCCGov. Beverly Perdue (D)May 31
North DakotaLetter to FCCGov. Jack Dalrymple (R)July 1
OhioLetter to FCCGov. John Kasich (R)June 9
OklahomaLetter to FCCGov. Mary Fallin (R)May 16
South CarolinaLetter to FCCGov. Nikki Haley (R)May 21
South DakotaLetter to FCCGov. Dennis Daugaard (R)June 20
TennesseeLetter to FCCGov. Bill Haslam (R)May 27
TexasLetter to FCCGov. Rick Perry (R)May 25
VermontLetter to FCCGov. Peter Shumlin (D)June 20
West VirginiaLetter to FCCGov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D)June 21

State agencies

Action takenNext steps
ArizonaThe Arizona Corporation Commission said it would consider the merger.Without conducting a hearing, the commission voted for approval on July 5.
CaliforniaBy a 3-2 vote on June 9, the California Public Utilities Commission decided to investigate the deal and its effects on the state's consumers and economy.The commission will ask for more information from AT&T directly, and it will hold a series of public hearings around the state. It then plans to issue its findings by October, which is when the FCC has promised to vote on the matter.
LouisianaThe state's Public Service Commission said in May that it would seek public comment on the merger, though it would not be conducting its own investigation. On July 27 the commission voted to approve the merger.
New YorkIn a letter to the FCC filed on June 16, the New York State Public Service Commission urged the federal agency to closely evaluate on a market-by-market basis how the deal could affect wireless concentration.The public service commission says it will continue to scrutinize the merger and report additional findings to the FCC.
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