Blawgletter said, in the first blush of astonishment at AT&T's plan to buy T-Mobile, that we felt in our gut the deal would never go through.
But now we read that left-leaning groups like the NAACP, NEA, AFL-CIO, and GLAAD support the merger. Will wonders never cease?
No one, we suspect, would accuse any of those outfits of deep knowledge about the shortage (or not) of the wireless waves that convey cell phone calls, texts, emails, and ribald Tweets by Congressman Weiner (a chief argument by AT&T in favor of the pact; the wave shortage, not the Tweets) or the effect on competition in the wireless space of letting two of the four biggest wireless providers join in perpetual corporate matrimony.
Salon suggests that the money AT&T has given to the groups calls the "credibility" of their support into question. We beg to differ. They don't pretend to know whether the merger will help competition. Likely because to them aiding competition seems an abstract notion — unlike the concrete benefits that AT&T has persuaded them to expect from killing T-Mobile, which gives less help to the causes that the groups care about.
What do you think? Does the spectrum/wave shortage argument hold electromagnetic water? Will eliminating the fourth-largest wireless provider truly exert tiny impact on competition and consumer welfare? Does consumer welfare matter any more? Do behavioral economists have nothing to say about the practical effect on consumers of allowing a national duopoly between AT&T and Verizon?