AT&T Has One Final Tantrum

by Mark Wilson

AT&T today announced, predictably, that it was dropping its bid to acquire T-Mobile. In so doing, AT&T didn’t miss a chance to petulantly tell the FCC that they would be sorry:

The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry. It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately. The AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage. In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.

Really, AT&T? Merging the number one and number four wireless carriers in the United States to leave us with only three major wireless carriers would not stifle innovation? Does AT&T not remember  when it was the only phone company? Remember when customers actually had to rent their telephones from Ma Bell (that is, AT&T), paying many times more than the phone handset was worth, just because Bell insisted that no other handset would work on its network? Remember how that caused innovation?

Nice try, AT&T. If it’s any consolation, no one believed you from the beginning.