Back when I was at the FCC, then-Chairman Reed Hundt famously torpedoed a rumored BellSouth-AT&T deal by calling it “unthinkable” for regulators. Now comes word that SBC, one of the other Bell companies, is in serious talks to acquire AT&T.
We’ll see. The industry has changed a lot in the past few years, but I’m still skeptical something like this will actually happen. Given the progress AT&T has made in transforming itself into a data-centric company, it would also be a bit of a shame if it were swallowed up by one of the Bells. On the regulatory side, much may depend on who replaces Michael Powell at the FCC. It won’t be an antitrust crusader, of course, but in this game, degrees of emphasis matter.