Who's Afraid of the T-Mobile and AT&T Deal?
If the regulators dither, as regulators usually do, additional harm to customers may accrue if the wireless companies pause in their investment strategies to see what the competitive landscape is going to look like. Plus, if the FCC and the DoJ block T-Mobile's sale to AT&T, will that be their way of signaling a preference for a T-Mobile and Sprint merger? If so, prepare yourself for the howls of misery from T-Mobile and Sprint customers as the incompatible technologies of the two companies are combined in a shotgun wedding officiated by the feds.
I own one of the crappiest cellphones ever made, the Samsung SGH-X495. But it's cheap! Each summer, I purchase 1,000 minutes at the unbelievably low price of $100 from T-Mobile. The minutes last a whole year, and in the five years that I've owned the phone, I've never come close to using all of them. What crappy cellphone do you own? Anybody got a Siemens CF62T? Now that's one stone-age box! Slander your ancient cellphone in email to email@example.com and point your smartphone at my Twitter feed. (Email may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)
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Correction, March 21, 2011: The original version of this article incorrectly described the purchase by AT&T of T-Mobile as the merger of the Nos. 2 and 3 wireless carriers. The deal would combine the Nos. 2 and 4 wireless carriers. (Return to the corrected sentence.)