The Complaint largely ignores the significant competition from established providers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint, innovative upstarts such as MetroPCS and Leap/Cricket, and strong regional providers like US Cellular and Cellular South, among others. The Department does not and cannot explain how, in the face of all of these aggressive rivals, the combined AT&T/T-Mobile will have any ability or incentive to restrict output, raise prices, or slow innovation. Nor can it explain how T-Mobile, the only major carrier to have actually lost subscribers in a robustly growing market, provides a unique competitive constraint on AT&T.
Blocking this transaction will not help T-Mobile or its customers, but the transfer of T-Mobile’s network capacity and infrastructure to AT&T, a healthy competitor, will enhance competition for all, now and in the future.
Defendants respond that significant efficiencies more than outweigh any anticompetitive effect from this merger. Defendants further respond that Plaintiff’s own Horizontal Merger Guidelines make clear that cost savings and other efficiencies can "reduce … the merged firm’s incentive to elevate prices," "make coordination less likely," and more generally "reverse the merger’s potential to harm customers." Defendants further respond that it is Plaintiff’s burden to prove that, on balance, in light of all the evidence, including the competitive, efficiency-enhancing effects, the net effect of the transaction is to substantially lessen competition.
[C]ustomers’ insatiable and growing demand for wireless data is placing unprecedented strains on AT&T’s network and is impairing its ability to continue to meet explosive mobile broadband demands... Without this merger, AT&T will continue to experience capacity constraints, millions of customers will be deprived of faster and higher quality service, and innovation and infrastructure will be stunted.
Defendants further respond that characterization of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint as the "Big Four" is misleading in this context, because, as the FCC has recently found in its Fifteenth Report on the state of competition in the mobile services marketplace, more than 90% of U.S. consumers have at least five wireless providers to choose from. Defendants otherwise deny the allegations in this paragraph.