AT&T, one of the leading prepaid phone service providers in United States, announced the acquisition of Time Warner in the month of October and since then, the matter has been in the news quite frequently.
Recently, the AT&T – Time Warner merger has made it to the hottest news again where the merger deal has been put under a cloud of doubt.
Democratic Senators Demanding To Block the Deal
In a letter to Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, a group of 11 Democratic senators have highlighted their objection to the acquisition proposal that AT&T made for Time Warner.
The major issues raised by the senators are that the acquisition or merger is going to harm the American customers by laying heavily on their pockets and affecting their access to entertainment programs. The issues include high prices, harm to net neutrality, decreased competition, lack of choice for users, content discrimination, and more.
According to the Democrats, the merger of Time Warner with the renowned mobile and home phone service provider can prove out to limit the competition among TV and mobile broadband providers. Also, the Democrats are concerned that the telecom behemoth and prepaid phone service provider AT&T might violate the principles of net neutrality by limiting the online and TV content of the competitors to its own network.
“AT&T-Time Warner could prioritize Time Warner content, including HBO, over HBO’s competitors in the premium channels market, such as Starz and Showtime. While premium channels are working to reach subscribers through over the top (OTT) services, many Americans still access premium channels by selecting them when they purchase or update their Pay-TV service, such as AT&T-owned DIRECTV. Because AT&T-Time Warner would have an incentive to drive subscribers to HBO, the combined company could choose to not market, market less vigorously, or otherwise harm its premium channel competitors during the DIRECTV sign-up process, which AT&T controls”, says the letter in this regard.
Why the Letter?
Democrats have drafted the letter and sent it to the Department of Justice because regulatory approval to the merger is still pending. Now, after bringing this letter into notice, the officials may or may not approve the merger of the huge prepaid phone service provider with Time Warner.
Thus, the acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T is still under a cloud of doubt.
It’s now in the hands of the Department of Justice. They can completely block the deal, can approve it, or approve it with terms and conditions. The giant mobile and home phone service provider will now have to wait and see what comes its way.
For quite obvious reasons, AT&T denied everything that the letter had mentioned. In a statement, a spokesperson of the huge home phone service provider mentioned that the acquisition wouldn’t bring content discrimination but bring more choices for the consumers.
It’s to be seen whether the DOJ takes the decision in favor of AT&T or against it. With the letter being circulated to authorities, a great buzz has brought the merger under a dark cloud of doubt. With President Donald Trump against the deal, the odds are against AT&T. Still, let’s wait and see what’s next for the AT&T – Time Warner deal.