"The department said 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," the Department of Justice said in a prepared statement this morning.
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and various consumer groups have argued much the same line since the merger was announced. AT&T has countered that the merger will add thousands of jobs and allow it to deploy a truly nationwide 4G network.
AT&T remains "confident that this merger is in the best interest of consumers and our country."
"We are surprised and disappointed by today’s action, particularly since we have met repeatedly with the Department of Justice and there was no indication from the DoJ that this action was being contemplated," says Wayne Watts, AT&T senior executive vice president and general counsel, in an official statement on the matter.
"We plan to ask for an expedited hearing so the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed," he continues. "The DoJ has the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive effects and we intend to vigorously contest this matter in court."
Why this matters The T-Mobile merger is the easiest way for AT&T to add much-needed network capacity and spectrum for 4G services. T-Mobile, meanwhile, has no clear path to LTE without the merger.
- Govt Blocks AT&T/T-Mobile Deal
- Deputy AG: Merger Meant Higher Prices
- FCC Comments on AT&T, T-Mobile Merger
Our entire list of coverage relating to the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger can be found here.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile