How do I love it that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger seems doomed to disapproval? Let me count the ways:
1. The public interest will be served. No sane and disinterested observer could look at this plan and harbor any doubt that it would constitute a serious reduction of competition. AT&T is/was hoping to silence an annoying competitor by buying it, and not coincidentally as I understand, to acquire and monopolize spectrum.
2. Consumers will be served. It wasn't just the huge share of the cell-service market that the new entity would have had (effectively split only with its equally giant competitor, Verizon). Among today's carriers, T-Mobile has been the innovator in cell phone services, offering new arrangements and lower prices that forced the "big guys" to sit up and take notice. AT&T, by contrast, was the carrier that provided inferior services at high prices. There is no doubt which of those business models would have had the upper hand in the planned merged company.
3. AT&T's arrogance may suffer a minor blow. The company was insufferably cocky that its planned deal would go through, advertising as if it were a done deal, and chatting freely with business columnists about how it was certain of approval because of its lobbying influence.
4. Lying was not rewarded. Those ads the company was running were full of made-up statistics about creating 96,000 new jobs, a claim that has been largely debunked. Most people recognize, I think, that mergers seldom if ever result in the creation of jobs; mass firings are far more likely. AT&T also puffed up its chest with patriotic pride, claiming it would repatriate 5,000 offshore jobs because the U.S. is a great place to do business. That wouldn't be a bad thing, and sounds as if it might have been doable; but there was that nagging question - if the company believed so strongly in the U.S. as a business environment, why were those jobs offshored in the first place?
All in all, the whole undertaking of the merger was hypocritical. No one but AT&T execs need lament its failure (if indeed that is the final outcome). If the merger doesn't go through, I would not be at all surprised to find that AT&T was out of the wirelesss business within a couple of years. That might (or might not) reduce the number of players in the field, but at least it would have come about as the result of real competition. (Ah, competition, a lass beloved and coveted by CEOs when seen from afar, yet unwelcome in their own beds.)