NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said on Friday that a sale of rural phone lines may be too difficult to pull off because of regulatory hurdles.
Stephenson had said in January that the company would review the future of its roughly 20 million rural telephone lines, including the possibility for a sale.
But selling the phone lines could be difficult because of their diverse geographic locations, the executive said on Friday in a webcast of an investor conference.
“The regulatory issues are the most difficult to deal with. It’s more than finding a buyer or the operational aspects,” Stephenson said.
Because the lines are in multiple states, a sale would require approval from multiple regulators and the process would be very complicated, said Stephenson, who noted that the lines span 80 percent of AT&T’s geographic footprint.
“That’s the part that would be causing you to pause in the willingness to take something like that on,” he told investors.