In a rather sudden and unexpected move, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday filed an antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile. The DOJ stated in a press release that
“The proposed $39 billion transaction would substantially lessen competition for mobile wireless telecommunications services across the United States, resulting in higher prices, poorer quality services, fewer choices and fewer innovative products for the millions of American consumers who rely on mobile wireless services in their everyday lives.”
Amelia Deloney of the Center for Media Justice stated that, “blocking this merger was a major victory for communities of color, rural communities, and America’s poor.”
Deputy Attorney General James Cole stated in the DOJ’s press release that
“The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would result in tens of millions of consumers all across the United States facing higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for mobile wireless services. Consumers across the country, including those in rural areas and those with lower incomes, benefit from competition among the nation’s wireless carriers, particularly the four remaining national carriers. This lawsuit seeks to ensure that everyone can continue to receive the benefits of that competition.”
The DOJ lawsuit by itself does not completely halt the pending merger. For the merger to happen, it still would need to be approved by the FCC, though analysts are saying that with validly raised antitrust concerns, this is now unlikely to happen.
For more information about the AT&T/T-Mobile, please read our previous news post concerning this issue.