[T]o offer the optimistic take, what I would say is that in the current US cellphone Verizon is the market leader because it has the best network. AT&T had long been able to acquire a comparable strong position despite its inferior network thanks to a farsighted deal it signed with Apple years ago giving it exclusive access to the most popular phone. But the combination of Android entering the market and the iPhone going non-exclusive raised the prospect of a market in which Verizon utterly dominates on quality. Acquiring T-Mobile (“a company that has the broadband it needs”) isn’t so much about “cutting out a competitor” as it is about building a firm that’s capable of competing with Verizon.
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