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Justice Department takes a sledgehammer to AT&T/T-Mobile merger

  • TC2 Blog
  • 8/31/2011
  • David Rohde

So AT&T can’t really control events after all.

Today the Justice Department filed suit to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. The government’s action doesn’t necessarily kill the deal – AT&T can, and for the moment says it will, fight the lawsuit. The Justice Department and AT&T also could theoretically negotiate a settlement that somehow lets the merger proceed, albeit with a lessened combination of spectrum assets.

But the government’s fundamental point – that four national competitors selling essentially the same type of product is better than three – seems to trump AT&T’s core claim that pulling two of the four together is the best way to get a better network as fast as possible.