| WASHINGTON, June 11
WASHINGTON, June 11 AT&T Inc's acquisition
of DirecTV would offer consumers access to video in a
variety of media and give the company scale to compete with
larger cable competitors, AT&T told U.S. regulators on
AT&T, the No. 2 wireless carrier, outlined why its proposed
$48.5 billion acquisition of the largest U.S. satellite TV
provider would benefit consumers in a filing with the Federal
Communications Commission, which will examine whether the merger
is in the public interest.
"Each company cannot provide on its own what consumers
increasingly demand: an integrated and efficient bundle of
high-speed broadband and high-quality video from a single
provider," AT&T said in the filing.
A merger would allow customers to save on services through
wireless, wireline and television bundles AT&T cannot provide
because of its limited video footprint, the company said.
The merger will also face an antitrust review at the U.S.
Department of Justice, where critics are expected to raise
questions about the areas where AT&T's and DirecTV's TV services
In Wednesday's filing, AT&T said that DirecTV cannot offer
bundled services, while AT&T's video subscribers predominantly
choose bundled services, meaning if they abandon AT&T they would
be much likelier to switch to cable competitors.
AT&T said it needed DirecTV's customer base to give it scale
to compete with its "principal competitors," Time Warner Cable
Comcast's $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable, which
regulators are currently reviewing, would put AT&T at a further
disadvantage, it said in the filing.
"Cable has long been the dominant provider of broadband and
video services in the United States, and if the Comcast/Time
Warner Cable/Charter transactions are completed, that dominance
will swell even further," it said.
If the merger is approved, AT&T promised to continue to
offer broadband Internet at reasonable market-based price and to
offer DirecTV satellite video service at a standard nationwide
price for three years after the merger's closing.
The company also reaffirmed its pledge to abide by the FCC's
2010 "net neutrality" rules, which prohibit Internet service
providers from blocking or slowing down users' access to
websites and applications for three years after the closing of
the acquisition, even though they were thrown out by an appeals
court in January.
The company also said if the merger is approved, it plans to
expand its broadband offerings to 15 million customers primarily
in rural areas.
(Reporting by Marina Lopes and Alina Selyukh; Additional
reporting by Liana Baker; Editing by Leslie Adler)