A Justice Department delay in the AT&T/T-Mobile merger case would hurt T-Mobile's opportunity to forge alliances with other wireless companies.
After months of staying mum on the AT&T and T-Mobile Merger, Verizon has finally broken its silence.
"We said there needs to be consolidation and as long as there is consolidation without regulation, we don't have an objection to it," Francis Shammo, chief financial officer for Verizon Communications, told gatherers at Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Barcelona.
The company declined to speak further to IBTimes regarding the matter.
In March, AT&T announced plans to acquire Deutsch Telekom's T-Mobile USA for $39 billion. The two companies claim the deal will allow AT&T to build a stronger wireless network, leading to better service and lower prices for consumers.
Opponents of the merger claim the deal could lead to a duopoly in the market, with AT&T and Verizon pummeling the wireless competition.
The most vocal opponent of the merger has been Sprint, the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S. behind Verizon and AT&T. However, smaller wireless companies such as C Spire Wireless have joined the fight to prevent the merger.
Another opponent of the plan is the Justice Department, which announced a lawsuit to block the merger. The case will go to trial on Feb. 13.
With more people moving to data plans, the cost of upgrading networks will be steep, said Jeff Kagan, an independent analyst who opposes the merger. He believes the merger could leave all other companies unable to compete with an AT&T network.
"I think Verizon is afraid of what the merger will do for the wireless industry," Kagan said. "But [Verizon] may want to make an acquisition in the future and wouldn't want AT&T in the way of that."
Yet Verizon may not have any immediate worries, analyst Charles Golvin of Forrester Research told IBTimes. He said Verizon is ahead in terms of total customers and in terms of rolling out the new 4G LTE network, and Verizon wouldn't likely appeal to the typical T-Mobile customer anyway.
"I think Verizon doesn't like the fact that it won't be number one in the wireless market anymore," Golvin said.
Merger supporters have tried to leverage the national concern over employment in order to build public support for its case. A recent study by the Communications Workers of America, which represents thousands of AT&T employees, said the deal could create up to 96,000 jobs as the new company works to rollout a stronger wireless network. Sprint and other merger opponents have challenged that claim.
Furthermore, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said earlier this year that if the merger were to go through, the company would bring back 5,000 call center jobs currently overseas.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to add analyst comments.
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