AT&T has officially pushed back its self-imposed closing date for gobbling up the nations fourth-largest carrier, T-Mobile. AT&T still seems to believe that it will close the T-Mobile deal by the end of next year’s first half despite opposition from the Justice Department and a potential lawsuit from Sprint. If the deal doesn’t go through, the Dallas-based company stands to lose $3 billion to T-Mobile.
AT&T’s chances don’t look good because the Justice Dept. is sticking to its guns when it says the deal could harm consumers by reducing competition and raising prices, and I happen to agree. It’s crystal clear as to what would happen if such a deal were to pass: AT&T would stand to be the only major GSM carrier in the land, and with that kind of cache they could set prices however they see fit and most customers would have to put up with it because there wouldn’t be anywhere else to go for particular handsets.
That said, the case goes to trial on Feb. 13. Analysts give AT&T little chance of defeating the Justice Department and getting the deal through, but stranger things have happened so don’t completely rule out the acquisition. What do you guys think, should the government back off and let the deal go through instead?