[caption id="attachment_70940" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="The Justice Department filed 138 antitrust cases in federal courts from 1999 to 2008 and lost just four of them."][/caption]

The Justice Department’s rejection of AT&T’s proposed purchase of T-Mobile USA will test new federal guidelines on challenging mergers, as well as the companies’ resolve in forming the nation’s largest wireless carrier. Schools and other consumers, meanwhile, will be watching the battle to see how it plays out—and what the landscape for wireless service will be as a result.

The Justice Department on Aug. 31 took the...

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