Dallas Morning News: AT&T, T-Mobile merger poses competition issues
Dallas Morning News Editorial
AT&T's surprise bid to buy rival T-Mobile for $39 billion will test the theory that less is more.
If it passes federal antitrust scrutiny, as is likely, the marriage would leave a large percentage of wireless service contracts in the hands of AT&T and Verizon Wireless and reduce the number of major U.S. wireless companies from four to three.
Even before this deal, AT&T and Verizon Wireless had grown bigger at the expense of smaller players like T-
Mobile, which found a suitor in AT&T, and Sprint Nextel, which may be the next domino to fall.
No one begrudges the success and deep pockets AT&T dipped into to snare T-Mobile.
The question for consumers — and ultimately the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice — is whether the wireless industry's continued consolidation over the past decade is in the best interest of competition, consumers and innovation.
The answer depends largely on your perch. For example, a merger of AT&T and T-Mobile probably would speed development of broadband services nationally, in part, by giving AT&T access to a wireless network that it otherwise would have taken years to build.
That's good for AT&T and presumably for consumers, who in general are talking less, texting more and downloading greater amounts of data.
But consumers also would have one fewer major-company option for service, and cellphone makers have one fewer U.S. wireless company to sell their phones