So what's an honest hard-working carrier to do now? Why, pool network assets together, of course, and still take advantage without all those pesky Congress hearings and tons of lawyer hours. WSJ is reporting that such talks for joint use of spectrum are in their initial phase as a backup plan if the deal is to burst at the seams is it seems increasingly likely.
Devil is in the details and such a joint-venture has to pass regulators' scrutiny as well, but it will be much easier to justify than a complete buyout. AT&T is reportedly also talking with Leap Wireless to divest some assets and make the government's case for a de facto duopoly if the deal goes through weaker.
If that falls apart too, AT&T is looking into shopping the assets to another buyer like Dish, cable companies or overseas telecoms. As an alternative, the carrier might also offer price freezing clauses in order to convince regulators it won't take unfair advantage of its increased influence if a merger gets approved. It's all up in the air now, but one thing seems certain - the AT&T-Mobile marriage is getting postponed, and might be downgraded to an engagement.