AT&T has abandoned its bid to buy T-Mobile, accusing the United States government of harming customers and halting 'much needed' investment in 4G in the US.
The US telecoms company launched the $39bn bid to buy the operator in March but the deal hit several hurdles in achieving regulatory approval. A report by the Federal Communications Commission, which was issued last month, said the merger would lead to 'significant harms to competition', a decrease in consumer choice and less innovation in the American mobile market.
The abandoned deal will still cost AT&T. It will have to pay $4bn to T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and has also signed a roaming agreement with the company.
In a release issued today (19 December), AT&T argued the merger would address a spectrum shortage in the US and by abandoning the deal, customers and investment would be harmed.
AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson said the US government needs to allow the free market to snap up additional spectrum to meet consumer demand.
He said: 'The mobile internet is a dynamic industry that can be a critical driver in restoring American economic growth and job creation, but only if companies are allowed to react quickly to customer needs and market forces.'