September 12, 2011, 9:00 PM — It's a good thing we have AT&T to stand up for our rights against that meddlesome U.S. Department of Justice, which insists on sticking its cynical, bureaucratic antitrust nose into our glorious free market, subverting job creators and consumer champions like, well, like AT&T!
All AT&T is trying to do in buying T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion is provide better service to more U.S. wireless customers at lower prices, all the while engaging in spirited competition with peers such as MetroPCS and Leap/Cricket, those twin wireless juggernauts that have a combined 3.7% of U.S. wireless market revenue.
AT&T has been patiently trying to explain the advantages of reducing the number of national wireless carriers from four to three ever since announcing the T-Mobile deal way back in March. The company has issued numerous press releases and "fact" sheets, lined up supporters in Washington, disparaged critics of the deal such as the Yankee Group, and emailed journalists (such as myself) who have written bad and unfair things about AT&T's sincere attempts to
kill off a rival and create a wireless duopoly help consumers and foster innovation.
Its latest attempt came Friday, when AT&T filed its official response to the DoJ's antitrust lawsuit brought late last month.
How galling it must be to have to explain time and again that by acquiring T-Mobile, the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier and the only other nationwide GSM provider, AT&T will create more choice for consumers and usher in a glorious new era of technological innovation and wonder. Which is exactly why the merger has been endorsed by our Founding Fathers, the heroes of 9/11, and God.
With the help of some gentle persuasion, the rigorous application of logic and millions of dollars in lobbying money, AT&T may yet help the DoJ and Federal Communications Commission see the light.
Then, maybe next year or the year after, if Verizon Wireless, say, should try to buy No. 3 Sprint Nextel, AT&T can turn right around and argue that such a merger would be an absolute disaster for consumers and innovation. Because Verizon clearly wouldn't have the best interests of wireless consumers at heart.