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U.S. facing off against AT&T to block merger with Time Warner

Although available in some cities, AT&T’s 5G mobile network can’t be accessed yet via users’ smartphones. The company’s first 5G-compatible device, a mobile hotspot, must be used for for access until its compatible smartphone hits the market next year. (Mark Lennihan / AP)
Although available in some cities, AT&T’s 5G mobile network can’t be accessed yet via users’ smartphones. The company’s first 5G-compatible device, a mobile hotspot, must be used for for access until its compatible smartphone hits the market next year. (Mark Lennihan / AP)
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is facing off against AT&T to block the telephone giant from absorbing Time Warner, in a case that could shape how consumers get – and how much they pay for – streaming TV and movies.

Opening arguments come Thursday in the landmark antitrust case in federal court in Washington. The Justice Department has sued to block the $85 billion deal, saying it would hurt competition and consumers would have to pay more to watch their favorite shows, whether on a TV screen, smartphone or tablet.

AT&T insists the merger is needed to compete in a rapidly shifting marketplace as more people use streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and others. It denies the government’s assertion that the merger would limit choice and push up prices.

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