AT&T, a company that was broken up in 1984 because of a federal antitrust suit, is once again sparking fears that consumers and competition will get hurt as a result of its deal to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion. The deal would shrink the market of major wireless carriers from four to three, eliminating No. 4 T-Mobile and vaulting AT&T past Verizon Wireless, to become the largest cellphone company in the U.S.
If the deal survives regulatory scrutiny, it would not only change the competitive landscape nationally, but would give AT&T a bigger chunk of South Florida's cellular service market.
T-Mobile currently has 50 retail locations in South Florida, according to the South Florida Business Journal. The deal also comes shortly after AT&T announced that it activated two new cell sites and added extra capacity to several others across South Florida. At least 17 cell sites received upgrades in Broward County and another 14 were upgraded in Palm Beach.
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The move also comes on the heels of the competitive pressure brought about by AT&T's loss of exclusivity on Apple's iPhone, which Verizon is now able to sell.
T-Mobile customers will not be immediately affected, however, because AT&T expects that it can take a year to get over the regulatory hurdles and close the deal.
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