Suddenly, Cingular-AT&T Wireless Merger To Get More Scrutiny
from the oh,-hey,-maybe-we-should-look-at-that.. dept
Ever since the rumors began about big mobile carriers merging, it’s been generally expected that any such merger wouldn’t run into any sort of regulatory problems. After Cingular won the war for AT&T Wireless, most people expected that they wouldn’t have much of a problem getting through the anti-trust review. However, it sounds like a few folks in the Justice Department have suddenly woken up and realized that maybe, just maybe, they should check this one out a bit more carefully. Apparently, the claim is that they want to make sure they have all their bases covered, since it’s likely that this deal will set a precedent for future mobile mergers (which are still somewhat expected). Oddly, they also claim that the sudden concern is due to the realization that AT&T Wireless is the last major mobile phone carrier not backed by a Bell company. Apparently, someone forgot to include T-Mobile and Nextel in the discussion. T-Mobile is backed by Deutsche Telekom, but it’s certainly not an American Bell company. Still, the Justice Department is suddenly worried that the Bells will absolutely dominate the mobile phone business (weren’t they doing so already?) and keep out all kinds of competition. Again, this seems fairly easy to disprove (T-Mobile, Nextel…), but if they really feel the need for a little extra scrutiny, then let them have at it.