The road is only getting rockier for AT&T’s proposed purchase of T-Mobile. In addition to a Justice Department lawsuit attempting to block the merger entirely, the Federal Communications Commission (you know, that standardizing body that gives us so many juicy leaks) is calling for a hearing into the matter. The last time that the FCC called for a hearing was the proposed merger between DirecTV and Echostar, and that deal never went through.
While most thought that the merger between two of the four major United States cell phone carriers would be rubber-stamped through the approval process, it looks like the United States government is preparing for a rare denial. With two major agencies and seven states apparently opposed to the $39 billion deal, it would take a miracle for the merger to happen at all, and the earliest it might even be possible is now well into 2012. Numerous consumer advocacy groups have also come out against the merger.
What does this mean for Android? Not a lot – it’s a continuation of the status quo. Without the additional towers and customers from T-Mobile, AT&T will be forced to improve its network on its own to remain competitive to Verizon. T-Mobile is still far behind in terms of actual subscribers, so they’ll almost certainly continue to rely on cheaper plans and devices in general. Nothing is set in stone, of course – the success or failure of AT&T’s plan will likely depend on the DOJ’s ruling.