(Adds content producers' worries)
WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc's proposed merger with DirecTV does not compare with other mergers shaking up the telecommunications industry because the companies largely provide different services, AT&T's chief executive told lawmakers on Tuesday.
"This is not Comcast/Time Warner, this is not two cable companies getting together, this is not Sprint and T-Mobile," CEO Randall Stephenson said at a hearing on the proposed $48.5 billion merger before a House Judiciary Committee panel.
"We're putting (DirecTV's satellite) TV product with our broadband wireless product ... There is not a content player per se in this transaction."
A Senate Judiciary Committee panel also planned to hold a hearing on the deal, which is one of several proposed or considered mergers roiling the cable and wireless industries. The others are Comcast Corp's $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable Inc and Sprint Corp's potential bid for T-Mobile US Inc.
Consumer advocates have raised red flags about industry consolidation, warning that content providers and consumers might face higher prices, despite reassurances to the contrary.
Content producers worry a combined company would become so powerful it would be able to discriminate among producers, determine programing costs and hamper content innovation. Smaller cable operators who will not be able to negotiate programming costs will also be at a disadvantage, they argued at hearings on Tuesday.
Stephenson and DirecTV CEO Michael White repeated their assurances to the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month that the merger would combine the complementary products to offer the bundles of video and broadband Internet services that consumers increasingly want.
"We've competed aggressively," White told lawmakers. "In recent years, however, broadband is changing everything. If we want to continue to compete effectively in today's Internet-driven economy, we must adapt as well."
AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier, told the FCC in a filing that the merger with the largest U.S. satellite TV provider would mean stronger competition for the cable companies, including in the areas where DirecTV and AT&T now overlap, and provide better Internet service to rural areas.
Lawmakers can be a major influence on merger deliberations. However, they will have no formal role in deciding whether the AT&T/DirecTV deal wins approval from the Justice Department, which must ensure the merger complies with antitrust law, and the FCC, which has a broader public-interest standard.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh and Marina Lopes; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andre Grenon)