FCC approves AT&T-DirecTV merger

FCC approves AT&T-DirecTV merger

AT&T has completed its $48.5 billion acquisition of pay TV operator DirecTV, following approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The merger will make AT&T the country’s largest pay TV provider, with a customer base of approximately 26 million total pay TV subscribers in the US and over 19 million customers in Latin America, including Mexico and the Caribbean.

Both companies will be integrated over the coming months. AT&T said it will launch integrated TV, mobile, and high-speed internet offerings in the next few weeks.

"This transaction allows us to significantly expand our high-speed internet service to reach millions more households, which is a perfect complement to our coast-to-coast TV and mobile coverage," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s CEO. "We're now a fundamentally different company with a diversified set of capabilities and businesses that set us apart from the competition."

FCC commissioner Mike O’ Rielly said there were no issues holding back the approval of the deal. "To be clear, this process shouldn't have taken this long, and we shouldn't have been so cavalier with the commission's merger review 'shot clock,' but at least we have arrived at this final stage.” 

The regulator assessed the deal based on the records of AT&T and DirecTV, which include extensive economic analysis and documentary data about both parties. 

Under the conditions of the FCC, AT&T will have to deliver more fibre to 12.5 million more consumers as well as provide gigabit service to libraries and schools eligible to receive money from the country's schools and libraries programme of the Universal Service Fund.

In addition the FCC said that the merged entity should refrain from imposing discriminatory usage-based allowances or other discriminatory retail terms and conditions on its broadband internet service.