A top US antitrust politician has voiced his opposition to AT&T’s proposed US$39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, calling for both the US justice department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the deal on competition grounds. According to a Financial Times report, Senator Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee, has written a letter to Eric Holder, attorney-general, and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, claiming the deal “would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest.” Kohl argues that the deal would eliminate the low-price competitor, T-Mobile USA, from the market. AT&T hit back, claiming Kohl’s position is “inconsistent with antitrust law, is shared by few others and ignores the many positive benefits and numerous supporters of the transaction.” Opposition to the merger by lawmakers could see tough conditions imposed on the deal, the report says. 

AT&T separately reported its Q2 earnings today, which continued to see growth in its mobile arm offset weaknesses in fixed-line. Total revenue came in at US$31.5 billion for the quarter, up 2.2 percent versus the year-earlier period; this included a 9.5 percent rise in wireless revenue (to US$15.6 billion) and a 3.2 percent decline in wireline (to US$14.9 billion). Net income attributable to the company was US$3.59 billion (US$0.60 per share), down from US$4 billion (US$0.67 per share) a year ago, but in line with expectations. The operator added 1.1 million mobile customers in the quarter to reach 98.6 million in total. This included “best-ever second-quarter smartphone sales” of 5.6 million, which accounted for nearly 70 percent of total postpaid sales. Sales of “Android and other smartphones” doubled year-on-year, the operator said, while iPhone activations “remain strong” at 3.6 million, with 24 percent of iPhone subscribers new to AT&T.