The merger raises the spectre of a renewed monopoly (as though the former SBC hadn't moved decisively in that direction years ago). The deal will take a year to clear although AT&T officials insist they have the stroke with the bureaucracy to get it done.
And they do. That's the problem.
I can't tell you how many trillions of dollars American consumers have paid over the last decades, over and above their real value, for wired and wireless bits, thanks to monopolistic practices we foresaw in the mid-1990s, tried to deal with, and then saw politics unravel.
The whole idea of the government, from the beginning, was to separate the infrastructure from the service. Thanks to a compliant Bush Administration, and Clinton appointees who were outmaneuvered, the Bell operating companies overthrew that deal. This led to the merger mania which now sees us with only three “choices” – AT&T, Verizon and Comcast – for most people just two of the three, and for others just one.