Would you kick a crippled person just as they were standing on their feet, about to walk for the first time in years? AT&T would! Against all odds, WiMax just might make it, pending the merger of Sprint and Clearwire's WiMax divisions. So AT&T filed with a petition with the FCC to block it.
The rationale behind AT&T's petition is basically that the deal requires more scrutiny. Their official statement on the matter, sent to us by an AT&T spokesman, is that, "While AT&T does not fundamentally oppose the underlying transaction, Sprint and Clearwire should be required to demonstrate that its merger serves the public interest just like any other providers would have to do." Specifically, a significant chunk of the 2.5GHz spectrum their network will run on is actually leased from the schools and non-profits (which use it for the Educational Broadband Service).
According to Ars, AT&T is arguing that if you count the spectrum holdings Sprint and Clearwire lease from the EBS licence holders, they pass the threshold requiring a "competitive analysis" of what the spectrum landscape would look like post-merger, which they don't have in their merger filings. Even though, as Ars points out, when AT&T bought Dobson Communications last year, they said EBS spectrum didn't really count.
So, it has to be asked—is AT&T finally scared of WiMax? [Ars Technica]