The media misunderstands the economics of antitrust. Companies *want* market consolidation, because the lack of competition increases the prices charged by all remaining parties.
In fact, Verizon would not be able to sue under the Sherman Act even if it wanted to, under the "Antitrust Injury" doctrine. Quite simply, the Supreme Court has realized this fact, that competitors actually benefit from consolidation, and thus do not meet the requirements of the Constitution that a party must suffer "injury in fact" before bringing a lawsuit.
Verizon is busy trying to get 4G LTE out to more markets. They are wise to worry about upgrading their own infrastructure to make faster speeds and better service possible rather than worry about the nuances of bringing another wireless company into the fold and dealing with the hassles of mergers, etc. Besides it sounds like Verizon is still banking on providing better service (signal, etc) compared to AT&T even with the T-mobile merger. Being the best wireless provider doesn't always mean having to be the largest.
Verizon is saying this:
We're going to wait because either:
1. All the T-Mobile subscribers will flee AT&T because AT&T suxorz, and even though most will fly to Sprint because they'll offer the best prices and "unlimited"/"uncapped" service, we'll still pick up a decent percentage of the fleers
2. This move will hurt Sprint bad and then, their stock will drop low enough that we can buy them cheaper if we wait for them to become crippled
I am on AT&T right now, but as soon as my contract is up, I am going to go to either Sprint or Verizon. Not because I have anything against AT&T, but either for a better price or a speedier connection. Plus I want to be able to tether in an unlimited fashion (without the need to hack for it).
This website (which show the tower distribution for my area) helped me as well. When I saw the Verizon(37) & Sprint(16) Tower coverage, then looked at the AT&T(12) and T-Mobile(3), it seems that even with AT&T & T-Mobile combined(15), their coverage is still smaller for my area(New Orleans).
Why would Verizon care? They stand to land millions of customers as a result of this deal, not to mention the fact they now have less people competing with them on price. Bad news for consumers since prices will only go up.
People its like we all think the same, because we are SANE. AT&T will lose a lot of their T-Mobiles customers to Sprint and Verizon. Sprint will grow stronger, and remain a strong 3rd Mobile Carrier, at which point Verizon after improving and expanding it 4g network will try to acquire Sprint. At which point Metro PCs will become the 3rd Carrier and remain the third carrier for along time.
Of course Verizon doesn't object. There has been research for decades showing that a few competitors in a market are able to create an effective monopoly. The only real question is why our society has allowed industries to do this. There are plenty of ideas for laws that would prevent this.