AT&T's acquisition of T-mobile is on the rocks, and it looks like things are going to get uglier before everything settles out. As I mentioned in this CNN article, I'm convinced the deal is dead. My belief isn't driven by any particular dislike for this deal; in fact, I think it makes a lot of sense. But it was a big gamble that regulatory approval would come through, and sometimes things don't work out.
The problem here is moving on crisply. A major consolidating transaction is distracting enough; but trying to push one through the regulatory bog AT&T is facing? The DOJ has sued to block the merger. The FCC has referred the matter to an administrative hearing - a near-unheard of event. AT&T has responded by taking its ball and going home, pulling back its transfer application in the hopes that it can refile once it works things out with DOJ. All of this spells additional delay and uncertainty. Neither AT&T or T-Mobile can move forward fully until the merger is resolved, one way or the other. In the meantime, Verizon can keep taking market share steadfastly, not burdened down by distracting strategic considerations.