This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

AT&T/T-Mobile Block Harms Job Creation

For example, when Bell Atlantic merged with GTE and Airtouch, opponents warned the deal would "create an economic Frankenstein, an unregulated monopoly that will do nothing to improve the quality of life..." Four years later, we were cautioned, the AT&T Wireless-Bell South combination to form Cingular "spells bad news for consumers, who ultimately can expect higher prices and diminished service."

When Sprint (S) merged with Nextel, doomsayers declared that it "likely spells an end to the lower prices and innovative services consumers have received from cell phone companies." We heard more of the same when Verizon (T) merged with Alltel on June 5, 2008.

Each dire warning has been dead wrong.

Throughout this decade of wireless consolidation, consumer prices have fallen and services expanded. According to the 2010 U.S. GAO report, wireless prices declined 50% from 1999 to 2009. From the first quarter of 2005 to the last quarter of 2010, even though the average American sent 703 more text messages, prices fell 84%. Similarly, between the third quarter of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2010, the effective price per megabyte declined approximately 89%.

Mobile broadband markets are incredibly competitive: according to the FCC, 90%of all Americans can choose from five or more mobile carriers in 2010, up from 76% one year prior. The fact is that wireless industry consolidation has been and remains healthy for consumers and essential for those who build upon the dynamic wireless platform; it has enabled critical investment in infrastructure, innovations in business models and great leaps forward in wireless architecture. The market is working...government just needs to stay out of the way.

In this case, the proposed merger will enable AT&T to serve more than 55 million new customers with much higher speed services, upgrading its networks to handle exploding traffic while creating thousands of new jobs here at home. It offers a win-win for consumers and the economy, gaining the support from voices as diverse as the Communications Workers of America, Facebook, Qualcomm, RIM, TechNet, the Wall Street Journal, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital and 27 state Governors from around the country. The question is whether D.C. denizens understand innovation and job creation better than these innovators and local leaders.

As we look to refuel the American job engine, policy matters. Policy makers should first do no harm. Opposing the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile will do significant harm to mobile broadband investment, rollout and employment. This is a chance for all of these to support efforts to grow the economy -- and we should move ahead to see them realized as quickly as possible.

Bruce Mehlman is co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance and served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy from 2001-2003.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,057.29 -41.16 -0.24%
S&P 500 1,999.46 -3.91 -0.20%
NASDAQ 4,589.4490 +9.1780 0.20%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs