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“The merger would result in a wireless industry dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically-integrated companies"

The rumors persisted for months -- years, even. We reported on them as recently as March 8: "Report: Sprint in Talks to Acquire T-Mobile USA". Then, over the weekend, all previous speculations and ruminations were put to rest when it was announced that AT&T -- not Sprint -- was the most handsome suitor for the Magenta carrier 

Right about now, Sprint must be feeling like the nerdy boy who's been mustering the courage to ask out his crush -- a cheerleader, naturally, despite the pair's evident incompatibility -- only to learn that the object of his affection had been courted by the backup quarterback of the varsity football team over the weekend.

So what's Sprint going to do about it? Well, in this case, it means issuing a statement urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FCC to consider the competition.

An AT&T/T-Mobile merger "would alter dramatically the structure of the communications industry,” Sprint said in a statement cited on Ina Fried's Mobilized blog. “AT&T and Verizon are already by far the largest wireless providers. A combined AT&T and T-Mobile would be almost three times the size of Sprint, the third largest wireless competitor.

“If approved, the merger would result in a wireless industry dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically-integrated companies that control almost 80% of the US wireless post-paid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to compete,” Sprint said. “The DOJ and the FCC must decide if this transaction is in the best interest of consumers and the US economy overall, and determine if innovation and robust competition would be impacted adversely and by this dramatic change in the structure of the industry.”

AT&T told Mobilized that it wasn't worried about getting approval. “Today when you look across the top 20 markets in the country, 18 of those markets have five or more competitors, and when you look across the entire country, the majority of the country’s markets have five or more competitors,” AT&T President and mobile unit CEO Ralph De La Vega told Mobilized. “I think if the criteria that has been used in the past is used against this merger, I think the appropriate authorities will find there will still be plenty of competition left."

In Washington, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) promised to look into the merger with his Commerce Committee while urging regulators to "leave no stone unturned" in their scrutiny of the merger. “With every passing day, wireless services are becoming more and more important to the way we communicate,” he said in a statement. “So it is absolutely essential that both the Department of Justice and the FCC leave no stone unturned in determining what the impact of this combination is on the American people.”

If the deal fails, AT&T could be stuck with a $3-billion debt to T-Mobile. It could also be forced to hand over spectrum and other considerations, according to Mobilized



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Boooo
By RjBass on 3/21/2011 9:12:50 AM , Rating: 3
I have been an AT&T customer for several years now and each new year I get more and more fed up with their service and prices. They regulate everything, and cripple my phones with their bloatware and heavy usage restrictions. I have been looking to switch to T-Mobile for a while now, but it looks like I will being going back to Sprint. Maybe when my contract is up I can instead go to Cricket. They seem to be following in T-Mobiles footsteps with true unlimited plans and less BS restrictions.




RE: Boooo
By Ammohunt on 3/21/2011 2:51:48 PM , Rating: 3
tell me about it! i couldn't drop AT&T as fast as they would my calls! I of course moved to T-Mobile DOH! back to crappy service and dropped calls!(wonder if i can get out of my contract and move to Verizon)


RE: Boooo
By gorehound on 3/21/2011 4:32:19 PM , Rating: 3
I dropped ATT years back and hope I will never find myself in the position of having to go back to them.

this merger is BS and creates a monopoly.this government better not bend over to ATT.


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