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35 Years Later, Antitrust Lawyers Are Making the Same Ma Bell Mistake

• https://fee.org, Courtland Culver

"The lawyer with the briefcase can steal more money than the man with the gun." – Vito Corleone, The Godfather

It was recently announced that Dish Network may purchase Boost from Sprint and Virgin Mobile from T-Mobile. Like in The Godfather, this is an offer Sprint and T-Mobile can't refuse. Sprint and T-Mobile, the third-and fourth-largest cell phone service providers respectively, have been trying to merge for a long time.

Regulating Monopolies

Last month, the Department of Justice agreed to allow the companies to merge under a few conditions. Sprint will be forced to sell its popular Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands to Dish Network for $5 billion, effectively creating a new fourth wireless network. Additionally, the new company must invest in building its new 5G network in rural areas throughout the country.

The DOJ called for these terms over fears that the cell phone industry is attempting to monopolize. Monopoly, besides being a super fun board game, is a market situation that involves a producer (or producers) controlling the supply of a good or service to such an extent that, in theory, it prohibits new producers from entering the market.

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