The justice department moved to block the $39B merger of AT&T with T-Mobile on the grounds that it would harm competition.
An idiotic standpoint to take considering our government previously allowed each digital mobile phone network provider to lockout out-of-network handsets from the specifically designed open GSM standard (designed to provide roaming across competitors) through SIM card locking (I stated my case along time ago).
Kind of like allowing Apple computers to only connect with other Apple users over the Internet, and Windows users only with other Windows users. The free-market principles of the mobile phone business have been violated from the start, with the government standing by idle and consumers having suffered the consequences of proprietary and dim cell phone coverage for many years in a large country that could have invited many other niche networks to participate and flourish.
What idiotic government does not understand is that SIM-card locking, a seemingly small tactical implementation had a detrimental effect on the creation of a free-market competition that would have allowed many smaller GSM mobile phone providers to give the wealthy incumbent a run for its money, and have allowed for better consumer value some twenty years ago.
Rather than blocking the merger between AT&T and T-mobile on the grounds of harming competition, our government should have moved to prevent the locking of SIM-cards that really harms competition, so regardless of any merger, any new GSM provider has a fair chance of participating and competing on core competency: to provide sublime network access and coverage to anybody who needs it anywhere.
We need smarter governance if we want our country to prosper again.
Update: Since this article was written in 2011 you can now unlock your phone from the AT&T network if you own your phone outright or have paid it off. Not solving the unfree issues described above, but a get out of jail kind of solution that at least would allow you to take your phone to another proprietary network provider, still not allowing you to connect to the best GSM signal available.