AT&T is putting a new argument on the table to dissuade federal authorities that its T-Mobile purchase won’t make it a monopolistic company.
The mobile industry in the US is comprised of what’s known as the “big four” – Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Verizon and Sprint run on a standard known as CDMA, a mobile infrastructure that only exists in North America and as such provides strong reception for the continent.
T-Mobile and AT&T, meanwhile, use a different standard called GSM, which is an accepted global standard but doesn’t always get the best reception in the US. If These two combine into one company, that means there’s only a solitary player in the GSM market in North America.
At least, that’s how the argument has been framed so far. But now AT&T is trying to remind the Department of Justice that there are more than just the big four.
The carrier wrote in a statement that the department “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 U.S. Cellular and Cellular South, among others.”
Of course, all of those small carriers combined don’t even pose a threat to any of the big four. In fact, it AT&T and T-Mobile were to merge, the resulting company would be 14 times larger than MetroPCS, the largest non-major carrier.
So that may not be the strongest argument in AT&T’s quiver. Previously, the carrier has stated the acquisition will allow it to bring 5,000 new jobs to the US and as such would not meet the traditional concerns of an antitrust claim.
It’s looking more and more like an uphill battle for AT&T, but it’s not giving up.