Consumers Don’t Make Choices, Only Top Competitors Do Intimates DoJ

by Mike Wendy on September 21, 2011

I noted in a post on Monday that at least one major retailer – Radio Shack – sees vibrant competition in the wireless market, selling the services of 9 “top carriers” to consumers nationally:

9 options marketed to consumers

Cellular South, which is suing to stop the AT&T merger, sees 12 “major carriers” in the wireless marketplace.

Cellular South's merger complaint lists 12 carriers

Sprint, which is also suing to block the merger, found 18 choices important enough to list in its merger complaint:

  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • U.S. Cellular
  • Cellular South
  • Cincinnati Bell
  • nTelos
  • Alaska Communications
  • Atlantic Telenetwork
  • Boost
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Assurance Wireless
  • GoPhone
  • Unleashed
  • MetroPCS
  • Leap
  • TracFone

But the DoJ seemingly believes that only the “Big Four” (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) matter, essentially stripping all other options out of the competitive picture.   In the DoJ’s view, consumers and the numerous (non-Big Four) choices that have materialized to serve them mean little – average consumers don’t affect competition and choice.  Only big competitors do.

DoJ complaint intimates "real" competition comes only from the "Big Four"

Curious, this definition.  Does the consumer purchasing the “lesser choices” know that he / she has made no choice at all (as viewed by the bureaucrats at the DoJ)?


Perhaps they should call the DoJ from one of those non-Big Four choices they’ve made to disabuse the agency of that notion?

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