Which operators emerged as winners and losers after the DOJ-AT&T fallout?
AT&T and T-Mobile have most on the line, but the decision affects every U.S. operator -- some in very subtle ways
The Justice Departmentís move to block AT&Tís acquisition of T-Mobile will likely have repercussions felt throughout the U.S. wireless industry. AT&T obviously lost the most. The merger hasnít been killed outright, but AT&T will have to jump through many more hoops to close the deal, and it will likely have to make concessions it would have balked at if it only faced FCC scrutiny.
But every other U.S. operator big and small has a stake in whether or not AT&Tís merger with T-Mobile is approved, and if it is, under what conditions. How AT&T proceeds from here could affect other operatorsí future acquisition plans and the ability of regional and rural operators to negotiate roaming agreements. If the deal goes through, networks and spectrum could be up for grabs in hundreds of key markets, triggering expansion drives among lower tier operators. While the merger would shift the balance of mobile customers to two big operators Ė Verizon and AT&T Ė it would also have a profound impact on the balance of spectrum ownership. In many cases, several operators stand to both gain and lose depending on how the merger proceedings shake out.
Letís take them one at time, examining first those operators who benefit from the DOJís decision to block the merger and then looking at a few that donít (apart from AT&T). Every aspect of the U.S. wireless industry is affected by the decision, but in this article weíre limiting our examination to wireless operators. Weíll examine its impact on infrastructure vendors, handset makers and software and services companies in future stories.
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