A Washington Post story today did a great job dissecting the failure of AT&T’s top-tier lobbyists to win regulatory approval for the acquisiton of T-Mobile USA.
It details the strategies, the big spending and the lineup of former lawmakers enlisted to pitch the $39 billion deal.
One weakness in the lobbying campaign was that officials didn’t buy AT&T’s malarkey about the merger increasing jobs, a pitch that was obviously false to everyone here in T-Mobile’s hometown.
Another was hubris: After getting its way for so many years, AT&T was cocksure and misread the current climate.
The old playbook backfired, according to dozens of interviews with government officials, lobbyists and consumer groups.
The letters from third-party groups raised eyebrows at government agencies and on the Hill, where people began wondering why groups with no obvious ties to broadband were writing in. News reports emerged showing that many of the groups had financial ties to AT&T.
Then there were the ads that staff members at the FCC said they couldn’t avoid when they opened a newspaper, fired up their iPads or watched TV — all touting the merger’s ability to put thousands of Americans to work. But who had ever heard of a big company merger creating rather than destroying jobs?