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Diane P. Wood, Circuit Judge. TheTelecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-104,110 Stat. 56 (1996), codified at 47 U.S.C. sec.151 et seq., represents a comprehensive effort byCongress to bring the benefits of deregulationand competition to all aspects of thetelecommunications market in the United States,including especially local markets. But progressand change in such a complex industry do notoccur overnight, and Congress accordinglyentrusted the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) and the state public utility commissionswith the task of overseeing the transition fromthe former regulatory regime to the Promised Landwhere competition reigns, consumers have a widearray of choice, and prices are low.

The antitrust laws for more than 110 years haveserved much the same purpose for the entireeconomy. The question that confronts us here ishow and where these two competition-friendlyregimes intersect. Consumers in most of thestates served by Ameritech Corporation broughtthis suit under the monopolization provision ofthe Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. sec. 2 (1994),claiming that Ameritech has been violating boththe antitrust laws, as it has moved through thederegulation process mandated by theTelecommunications Act (which we will usuallycall “the 1996 Act” for short), and the 1996 Actitself. The district court dismissed their case,never reaching their effort to bring it as aclass action, on the ground that they lackedstanding to complain about Ameritech’s allegedfootdragging and obstructive behavior. We haveconcluded that the district court was correct todismiss the plaintiffs’ suit. Our reasons,however, differ in important respects from thoseon which it relied, as we explain below.

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