US wireless carrier AT&T has dropped its bid to acquire rival T-Mobile, a deal which would have made it the largest mobile phone operator in the United States.
The company was forced to back out of the $39 billion deal after the US Department of Justice and Federal Communication Commission decided that the deal was not in the best interest of market competition and consumers.
AT&T, according to a filing made previously, would have to pay $4 billion to T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom in charges for cancelling the deal.
The AT&T and T-Mobile merger was opposed not only by the DoJ and the FCC but also by free rights groups, rivals like Sprint and consumer groups, who believed that the acquisition, if had gone through, would have stifled innovation and increased prices for consumers.
"Consumers won today had AT&T acquired T-Mobile, consumers in the wireless marketplace would have faced higher prices and reduced innovation. We sued to protect consumers who rely on competition in this important industry. With the parties' abandonment, we achieved that result." Sharis Pozen, of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in a statement reports The Wall Street Journal.
AT&T continues to maintain that the deal would have been in the favour of the market and consumers and would have continued to invest to provide better services to its customers.