AT&T, 30 years ago, attempted to monopolize the communication technology industry. Formerly known as Ma Bell, the communication giant top-sector of communication service made up of all Telecommunications/Telephone companies, evolved into a internet service providers, mobile communications and information service. AT&T made an effort, at the time, to be the sole provider of telephone services throughout the United States.
In 1974, the federal government filed a antitrust lawsuit under the Sherman Antitrust Act against AT&T, believed that AT&T, a single company providing all nationwide service attempted to control price, product, services, raise and dominate the telecommunications business. In 1982, the feds and the courts decided against AT&T, and the breakup plan was formalized in 1984. Ma Bell was ordered to give up local calling services to smaller development nickname “Baby Bells”. AT&T was allowed to continue its long distance services and shift into computer and Internet businesses. When the government untied it’s restrictions AT&T and the Baby Bells began to merge and takeover each other to increase their service areas.
The Baby Bells, part of the antitrust legislation, intended to create more competition within the industry, the Baby Bells included Nynex, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth and Ameritech in the Midwest; and Southwestern Bell, U.S. West and Pacific Telesis in California and Nevada. However, those companies acquisitioned and merged into AT&T U-verse, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile . As a result, the industry have combine into national telephone providers.
AT&T’s recent plan, a $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, the company that owns HBO, CNN, TNT and Warner Bros. film studio, in the infotainment and entertainment industry.
If the purchase goes through, the move according to AT&T, “could also set off a new wave of telecommunications companies and Internet giants, such as Google and Apple, buying or making deals with popular content programmers, further blurring the boundaries among the industries. In fact, Apple had been rumored for months to be a potential acquirer of Time Warner. Google’s interest in buying premium entertainment content, such as the right to stream NFL games, has also been widely reported”.
The purchase could ignite AT&T to control the telecommunication landscape in areas of entertainment and Internet service doing business and gain control of all online programming, video entertainment, electronic devices, set and apply price to control all markets of online internet content and with well-liked streaming programmers like Netflix eliminating free internet content.
If the $85.4 billion buyout becomes approved, the revenue possibilities will be endless providing AT&T to monopolize telecommunication. Programming operators will become takeover targets for its top-rated cable channels, HBO, Cinemax, SundanceTV, Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, TNT, and USA network. Time Warner owns divisions of HBO and Cinemax
Telecommunication will not be capped opening doors for investors growth. AT&T will be in command of Time Warner’s content – including “Harry Potter movies, CNN, NBA basketball on TNT, MLB baseball on TBS, HBO’s critically acclaimed shows, and DC Entertainment films”. AT&T bought DirecTV last year for $48 billion. Make those programs available for streaming services applying cost to customers for what was free content over the web.
AT&T gets revenue by licensing those movies and cable programs to other providers and subscription. Current Time Warner’s networks, particularly HBO and TNT, have some of the highest fees for pay-TV providers. AT&T will dictate financial cost to the customer eliminating cable competitors.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump stated that he would not approve AT&T and Time Warner merger if elected president. “Deals like this destroy democracy”. Trump is correct. The federal government has authority to prevent big corporations from monopolizing industry regime on U.S. business.