Assistant AG Reveals Plans to Depart in Midst of AT&T/T-Mobile Review

An Assistant Attorney General who reportedly has been key in enforcing antitrust laws is planning to step down from her post at the U.S. Department of Justice as the agency continues its review of AT&Ts $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced that Christine Varney Assistant Attorney General of the agencys Antitrust Division for the last 2 ½ years would resign from her position, effective Aug. 5.

Assistant Attorney General Varneys leadership of the Departments Antitrust Division was instrumental in protecting businesses and consumers from anticompetitive activity,” said Jerry James, CEO of COMPTEL, the trade organization representing the competitive telecommunications industry, in a statement.

Varney is likely to leave the DOJ before the agency completes its review of AT&Ts pending acquisition of T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile operator.

Some opponents of the merger assert that the transaction will result in too much consolidation in the U.S. wireless industry, stifling innovation, driving up prices and resulting in fewer choices for consumers.

COMPTEL and others have asked U.S. regulators to reject the deal.  

In the end, we are confident that the evidence will show that this merger must be rejected,” James said in the statement commenting on Varneys departure.

AT&T has asserted that the transaction will benefit the public, enabling the telecom company to handle increasing demands on its network and more rapidly roll out advanced 4G mobile services.

Both the DOJ and Federal Communications Commission are reviewing the merger.

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