FPJ BUSINESS DESK Mumbai

The Justice Department on Wednesday filed an antitrust lawsuit in U. S. District Court in Washington, D. C. to block AT& Ts $ 39 billion deal to buy T- Mobile USA saying the deal would reduce competition an

d raise tariffs for consumers.

” The Department believes that the combination of AT& T and T- Mobile would result in tens of millions of consumers all across the United States facing higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for their mobile wireless services,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said in a statement.

” Consumers across the country, including those in rural areas and those with lower incomes, benefit from competition among the nations wireless carriers, particularly the four remaining national carriers.

This lawsuit seeks to maintain a vibrant and competitive marketplace that allows everyone to benefit from lower prices and better quality and innovative products,” said Cole. Four nationwide providers account for more than 90 percent of the mobile wireless connections in America. Cole explained the prevailing market scenario to justify his decision.

” For instance, AT& T and T- Mobile currently compete head- to- head in 97 of the nations largest 100 cellular marketing areas.

They also compete nationwide to attract business and government customers.

Were the merger to proceed, there would only be three providers with 90 percent of the market, and competition among the remaining competitors on all dimensionsincluding price, quality, and innovation- would be diminished.”

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