AT&T Inc., blinded by past success in winning U.S. approval for its mergers and acquisitions, relied too much on lobbying and public relations in its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA while underestimating the resolve of the government, according to lawyers, consumer advocates and market analysts.

From the start, the company didn't detect evolving concern in Washington about consolidation in the wireless telecommunications market, they said.

When the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission opposed the planned purchase, AT&T's multimillion-dollar lobbying effort proved no substitute for a legal remedy, said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, an antitrust litigator with McCarthy, Sweeney & Harkaway PC in Washington.

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