Our Constitution provides for the regulation of commerce, but does it really call for federal agencies to be concerned whether one company is able to expand into new geographical markets or can hire more people? Check out Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn’s statement on the FCC’s approval of the acquisition of MetroPCS by T-Mobile USA:
“Based on the record before the Bureau, I generally agree that these transfer of control
applications would not likely result in competitive harm to wireless consumers. It also appears that this transaction could lead to benefits such as greater deployment of advanced Long Term Evolution (“LTE”) services, the expansion of the MetroPCS brand into new geographical markets, and the development of a more robust, nationwide network. Some commenters such as Communications Workers of America raised significant concerns with regard to whether, postmerger, the new company would pursue non-network synergies and efficiencies that could lead to significant job losses, a reduction in employment standards, and an adverse impact on customer service. In this regard, T-Mobile and MetroPCS made a statement that they have no plans to move call centers offshore or to reduce employment levels at T-Mobile call centers. They also stated that, over the last six months, the company has hired more than 3,600 employees in its 17 domestic call centers, and plans to continue hiring in those call centers, increasing the number of overall U.S. positions, to support its customers. I hope that the new company, in fact, pursues a course that increases employment opportunities.”
The FCC should be concerned about promoting the flow of commerce as facilitated by the deployment of a nationwide communications structure; one that, albeit regulated by the federal and state government, is financed and built by the private sector. As the economy becomes more knowledge based, and more commerce is engaged digitally via laptops, tablets, and smartphones, the FCC should focus reducing barriers faced by communications network providers that wish to enter a market and allow those communications network providers to execute a business model that allows maximum service provision at the lowest cost possible while satisfying the investment goals of their shareholders.
Hinting that the approval of an acquisition will continually hinge on a company’s decision regarding its human capital only serves to keep the cloud of regulatory uncertainty floating above the heads of potential market entrants.