DOJ Moves to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger
The Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit seeking to block AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, saying the deal would lessen competition in the wireless market.
Filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the DOJ’s complaint says T-Mobile “places important competitive pressure on its three larger rivals” and argues its purchase by AT&T would be bad for consumers.
“AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low-priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the Justice Department said in its suit. “Thus, unless this acquisition is enjoined, customers of mobile wireless telecommunications services likely will face higher prices, less product variety and innovation, and poorer quality services due to reduced incentives to invest than would exist absent the merger.”
And Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement:
By filing suit today, the Department of Justice has concluded that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would substantially lessen competition in violation of the antitrust laws. Competition is an essential component of the FCC’s statutory public interest analysis, and although our process is not complete, the record before this agency also raises serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition. Vibrant competition in wireless services is vital to innovation, investment, economic growth and job creation, and to drive our global leadership in mobile. Competition fosters consumer benefits, including more choices, better service and lower prices.