“So AT&T wants to dominate, huh?”

It’s the same thing we’ve all been thinking since the news broke this weekend.

AT&T has long had its sights set on world domination by acquiring smaller companies. And then it became a legal — albeit regulated — monopoly during WWI as a way to return to private ownership after being nationalized for a year. Bell Systems [source]

The story and its implications are well documented, so I’m not going to deal with that here. What struck me was that so many people brought it up. We’re not talking about internet people or people very tuned into business news. These were family members, friends and conversations overheard around town.

People are worried about this deal. They’re worried about price fixing and AT&T’s aggressive move to dominate the market.

And why shouldn’t they be? AT&T has been making its slow march to recover its dominant position for a long time, gobbling up Pacific Bell and Cingular. Now AT&T might have its hands on one of their biggest competitors, with its defense against anti-trust action being that there are plenty of small local wireless carriers all over the country.

One thing was clear, as AT&T continued to come up in these discussions. Not a single person thought this acquisition was good for the consumer. Nor did anyone think the deal was good for competition.

Sprint may be safe for now, but how long before AT&T and Verizon are the last monoliths standing?

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