By Tuesday’s deadline for the filing of initial comments and petitions on AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, the FCC had received thousands of filings in the proceeding, which commenced officially last month with the filing of the parties’ application for transfer of control. Although many of these submissions urge the FCC to block the transaction or else adopt various conditions to protect consumers and competition, AT&T senior executive vice president Jim Cicconi told reporters that the FCC had received at least 300 filings in support of the merger and that “we expect many more as the public interest benefits of this transaction become even more widely recognized.” As expected, Sprint Nextel led the charge among wireless carriers opposed to the merger, advising the agency in a 377-page petition that it can “reject AT&T’s bid . . . and extend the last two decades of robust competition in the wireless industry,” or “approve the takeover and let the wireless industry regress inexorably toward a 1980s-style duopoly.” In a similar petition, the Rural Cellular Association (RCA) seconded Sprint’s opinion that the merger would “effectively create a duopoly” and further declared that the transaction cannot be “salvaged through conditions.” While calling for denial, MetroPCS and Ntelos, Inc. told the FCC in a joint filing that, should the transaction be approved, the agency should condition consent on “significant spectrum divestitures” and should also force AT&T to offer roaming to regional and other non-national wireless carriers “at prices which allow such carriers to effectively compete with the combined AT&T/T-Mobile.” In a joint petition, a coalition of consumer and public advocacy groups that include the Consumers Union, the New America Foundation and the Media Access Project warned that the merger “is likely to intensify market power, raise prices, reduce innovation and narrow consumers’ choices.” Meanwhile, the Minority Media Telecommunications Council—which has never supported a telecommunications-related merger in its 25-year history—reversed that stance in declaring that the union of AT&T and T-Mobile “will benefit minority broadband consumers by allowing AT&T to . . . deploy advanced LTE service to more than 97% of consumers.” Along the same vein, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) agreed that the deal “will bring benefits to the American consumer,” especially “in the rural areas of our nation where so many UMWA members live and work.” The merger was also endorsed by a variety of municipal, civic, labor, and medical organizations that include the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, the Urban Corps of San Diego County, the Arkansas Hospital Association, and the Coalition of Labor Union Women.