Summary Box: T-Mobile is in tough spot

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SUBSCRIBERS DOWN: Although the government is blocking AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile to keep a low-priced competitor around, T-Mobile has seen the number of customers drop even with its low prices and marketing efforts.

WHAT NOW?: Customers will be able to keep their wireless service plans. But in the long run, if the merger doesn’t go through, T-Mobile is in an unsustainable position.

TROUBLES AT BOTH ENDS: At the high end of the market, it can’t compete with Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., the market leader and No. 2, respectively. At the low end, T-Mobile is struggling against competitors like Sprint Nextel Corp. and MetroPCS Holdings Corp.