AT&T Inc. fired back at the Justice Department, saying its $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA would usher in more competition, improve wireless service and lead to lower prices.

The comments, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., Friday, are AT&T’s first formal reply to the government’s effort to block the deal. At the heart of the rebuttal is the notion that T-Mobile USA is too weak to be an effective competitor and its removal from the market wouldn’t harm consumers.

Here. Consumer protections have a funny way of morphing into protection for established firms. I’d rather take my chances with the millions of decentralized choices in the marketplace instead of few centralized decisions by government bureaucrats.

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