Government Sues to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

Some big news in the telecom world today, as the Justice Department has sued to block AT&T's $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile on antitrust grounds. This is just like in the old days, when antitrust laws were enforced.

The proposed merger was announced this spring. The new supercorporation-in-waiting would become the nation's largest wireless carrier by perhaps tens of millions of customers and, according to the suits, allow them to expand high-speed broadband to 97% of the country. The deal had also just won support from the Communications Workers of America after AT&T promised to return 5,000 call-center jobs to the United States should it go through. AT&T had already paid off other advocacy groups.

But alas!

In the complaint filed today in federal court in Washington, the U.S. is seeking a declaration that Dallas-based AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), would violate U.S. antitrust law. The U.S. also asked for a court order blocking any arrangement implementing the deal.

"AT&T's elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market," the U.S. said in its filing.

The FCC, which no longer considers the wireless industry "competitive," is also still reviewing the deal after hearing so many hateful comments from everyone.

[Images via AP]