The AT&T/T-Mobile merger plan was announced approximately eight months ago. Since then, there has been a back and forth among regulators, businesses and analysts over whether the deal is a good deal for the wireless consumer, or if the deal would cripple competition.
Since the merger talk has resurfaced in the news again (and it may stick around for a while), it might be nice to do a little recap of the last eight months. Here is a timeline of relevant events, beginning from the announcement:
March 20: AT&T announces it intends to acquire T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, for $39 billion in a stock and cash transaction. If the merger were to go through, it would create the largest wireless carrier in the United States.
March 28: Sprint Nextel, the third largest wireless carrier behind Verizon and AT&T, formally announces opposition to the merger. Sprint argues the deal would create an AT&T/Verizon duopoly in the marketplace.
May 11: Randall Stephenson and Philipp Humm, the CEOs of AT&T and T-Mobile USA, testify at a U.S. Senate committee hearing to argue the case for the transaction. The CEO of Sprint, Dan Hesse, also testifies in front of the Senate trying to explain opposition to the plan.
May 26: A similar congressional hearing takes place in the House Judiciary Committee.
Aug. 11: A document by one of the attorneys involved in the deal leaks to public. The document claims it would cost AT&T only $3.8 billion to upgrade its network.
Aug. 26: The Federal Communications Commission restarts its 180-Day clock to make a decision regarding the merger after AT&T provided new evidence in support of merger. The informal countdown was paused on July 20.
Aug. 31: The U.S. Department of Justice announces it will file a lawsuit against the proposed merger. We feel the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would result in tens of millions of consumers across the U.S. facing higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for wireless services, said James Cole, deputy attorney general. The trial is set to begin Feb. 13.
Also on Aug. 31: Stephenson says AT&T would bring back 5,000 call center jobs from overseas if the merger were approved.
Sept. 6: Sprint announces that it too, plans to file a lawsuit to block the merger. With today's legal action, we are continuing that advocacy on behalf of consumers and competition, and expect to contribute our expertise and resources in proving that the proposed transaction is illegal, said Susan Haller, vice president-Litigation for Sprint.
Sept. 20: C Spire Wireless, a small regional carrier, also files a lawsuit against the merger. The small carrier expresses concern that AT&T would not provide roaming rates at a competitive price like T-Mobile does.
Nov. 21: At a telecommunications conference, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Francis Shammo says the company does not have any objection to the merger.
Nov. 22: The FCC calls for an administrative hearing on the transaction. This means the FCC believes the deal isn't in the best interest of the general public.
Nov. 24: In a surprise Thanksgiving announcement, AT&T requests that its merger proposal be withdrawn from the FCC. However, AT&T and T-Mobile vow to continue pursuing the merger fight. Furthermore, AT&T announces it would set aside $4 billion to pay a break-up fee to Deutsche Telekom if the deal fell through. Some analysts believe AT&T's fight may be on its last legs.
Nov. 25: Bloomberg reports AT&T plans to divest assets in order to gain regulatory approval for the deal. AT&T and T-Mobile have not responded to the requests for comments.