CTIA, AT&T boost lobbying spending in Q1

The CTIA and AT&T (NYSE:T) increased the amount of money they each spent on lobbying the federal government in the first quarter, according to disclosures the organization and company made with Congress.

The quarterly reporting of lobbyist spending is required by a federal law enacted in 1995, but the reporting will be closely watched this year due to AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. The disclosures also show how outgunned Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is in that battle, at least in terms of lobbying dollars.

According to the disclosures, which were compiled by the AP, CTIA spent $2.84 million in the first quarter to lobby the federal government against mobile phone taxes and other issues. The trade association's spending was up from the $2.18 million it spent in the year-ago period, and from the $2.78 million it spent in the fourth quarter of 2010. However, CTIA's spending did not account for the spending of its members, which include AT&T, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Sprint and T-Mobile.

As has been previously reported, AT&T spent $6.84 million on lobbying in the first quarter, more than the $5.93 million it spent in the first quarter of 2010 and more than double the $2.91 million it spent in the fourth quarter of 2010. According to the disclosure, AT&T lobbied on a wide range of issues, including access to spectrum. The company took its message to Congress, the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the National Economic Council, the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Trade Representative and the office of Vice President Joe Biden.

Verizon Communications, whose reporting includes lobbying for Verizon Wireless, spent $4.68 million in the first quarter on an array of issues, including radiation labels for cell phones and spectrum access. Verizon's spending was down slightly from the $4.72 million it spent in the same period in 2010, but was more than the $3.76 million it spent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Verizon said it lobbied Congress, the White House, the Treasury Department and the IRS.

Meanwhile, Sprint's lobbying spending looks puny compared with the spending of the nation's two largest carriers. Sprint spent $583,000 in the first quarter to lobby the federal government in opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, as well as on wireless regulation, texting while driving and other issues. Sprint's spending was down 25 percent from the $774,100 it spent in the year-ago period. Sprint lobbied Congress, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security and the FCC, according to the disclosure.

T-Mobile, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom, spent $690,000 in the first quarter to lobby on cell phone taxes, spectrum and data roaming, among other issues, according to the disclosure. T-Mobile's spending was up from the $523,970 it spent in the year-ago period, but down from the $1.27 million it spent in the fourth quarter of last year. T-Mobile said it lobbied Congress, the office of Vice President Joe Biden, the FCC and the NTIA.

For more:
- see this AP article on the CTIA
- see this AP article on AT&T
- see this AP article on Verizon
- see this AP article on Sprint
- see this AP article on T-Mobile

Related Articles:
In campaign for T-Mobile, AT&T spends almost $7M on lobbying in Q1
Sprint, AT&T load up on lobbyists for T-Mobile deal
Sprint's Hesse plots against AT&T/T-Mobile deal in white board war room
AT&T confident T-Mobile deal will close by March 2012
Sprint: AT&T can solve capacity crunch without buying T-Mobile
FCC asks Verizon, Sprint, others for data on AT&T/T-Mobile deal

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