Sprint to fight AT&T's buyout of T-Mobile

The third-largest U.S. carrier formally urged the U.S. to block the $39 billion deal

Sprint Nextel has vowed to fight AT&T's proposed US$39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, calling the deal a bid to create a new telecommunications duopoly.

"Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition. This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it," said Vonya McCann, senior vice president of government affairs, in a written statement on Monday.

The company said AT&T's proposed deal would roll back decades of opening up the U.S. telecommunications industry to competition following the breakup of the AT&T monopoly in the 1980s. "On behalf of our customers, our industry and our country, Sprint will fight this attempt by AT&T to undo the progress of the past 25 years and create a new Ma Bell duopoly," McCann's statement said.

AT&T announced its agreement to buy T-Mobile on March 20 but said it would probably take 12 months to conclude. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice will have to approve the deal, with the FCC examining whether it is in the public interest and the DOJ ruling whether it would hurt competition. AT&T executives have said they expect to have to discuss possible divestitures of some assets.

The deal would make AT&T by far the largest mobile operator in the country, with more than 130 million subscribers, while Verizon would remain in second place with 94 million. Sprint would still be the third-biggest mobile operator in the country, with 58 million subscribers, but it would be by far the smallest major carrier if T-Mobile didn't exist.

After the buyout, AT&T would be nearly three times the size of Sprint, the company pointed out in its statement Monday. Some observers believe Sprint would be forced into focusing on low-priced devices and services in order to carve out a market niche.

"The wireless industry moving forward would be dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically integrated companies with unprecedented control over the U.S. wireless postpaid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs, such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to operate," Sprint said.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse called the plan anticompetitive just two days after it was announced, during a keynote session at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Orlando last Tuesday. The statement released Monday formally sets the company on a course to try to block the deal. Just as AT&T repeatedly said the proposed combination would generate investment in U.S. infrastructure and make mobile broadband available to more Americans, Sprint invoked the national interest in calling for the deal to be blocked. Sprint said it expects the plan to be the subject of multiple congressional hearings.

"The wireless industry has sparked unprecedented levels of competition, innovation, job creation and investment for the American economy, all of which could be undone by this transaction," Sprint said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentmobileregulationbusiness issuestelecommunicationat&tsprint nextelU.S. Department of JusticeMergers / acquisitionsU.S. Federal Communications CommissionT-Mobile USA

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?