House Republicans urge Obama to settle AT&T deal

NEW YORK (AP) ? House Republicans on Tuesday sent a letter to President Barack Obama that expresses their disapproval of the Justice Department’s move to block AT&T Inc. from buying T-Mobile USA.

The letter was signed by 100 Representatives, led by Pete Olson of Texas. It repeats AT&T’s arguments in favor of the $39 billion deal, which was announced in May. For instance, AT&T said it will expand its new wireless data network to cover 97 percent of the U.S. population if the deal goes through and it will repatriate 5,000 T-Mobile call-center jobs.

The Justice Department filed suit Aug. 31 to block the merger, saying competition in the industry would suffer if the No. 2 carrier is allowed to buy the No. 4 carrier. Reduced competition would lead to higher prices for consumers, it said.

Last week, a group of 15 House Democrats led by Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina urged the administration to settle its suit against the deal.