News that the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile came as a shock to most of us following the deal. As CEO of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that operates on AT&T’s cellular network, we believe the merger is valuable and should be approved.
If allowed to go through, the merger would mean greater spectrum, speed, service enhancements, and wireless access to millions of customers living in rural areas across the nation. In addition, many in urban areas will see cellular service improvements as well. The expanded and enhanced service will also enable enterprise and wholesale clients such as Consumer Cellular to be more competitive and better meet the needs of their customers.
Between falling stock prices, declining customers and a lack of support from parent company Deutsche Telekom, it is clear that T-Mobile can no longer stand alone as a company. Rather than trying to force competition by hoping T-Mobile survives as a national competitor, the government should focus its efforts on approving the deal with the appropriate controls and restrictions to ensure consumers will benefit.
While many of us within the industry are hard-pressed to believe the merger will not eventually be approved, the idea that the government would take this action in the name of maintaining cellular competition is short-sighted and disappointing.
With the proper provisions to protect consumers and ensure unrestricted access to the enterprise and wholesale community, AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile would lead to great things for the wireless industry and American citizens.