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Urges U.S. government "to block this anti-competitive acquisition"

Opposition forces to AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA received a major supporter yesterday: Sprint Nextel. 

Sprint first commented on the blockbuster deal -- which would consolidate 80 percent of the country's wireless customers in just two companies -- in a moderate tone after the merger was initially announced. "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," Sprint said in a statement a little more than a week ago. 

But the rhetoric became more heated yesterday, when Sprint put out a press release announcing its official opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile deal.

"The transaction ... would reverse nearly three decades of actions by the U.S. government and the courts that modernized and opened U.S. communications markets to competition," the statement said. "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 went on to detail how the merger would result in a company "almost three times the size of Sprint," resulting in a de facto "duopoly" of the wireless industry by AT&T and Verizon. 

"Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition," Vonya McCann, senior vice president of government affairs for Sprint, said in the release. "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."

According to Reuters, a number of consumer and trade groups have also been critical of the deal. "This requires smaller competitors to negotiate agreements with these two telecom giants," Consumers Union told Reuters, while the public interest group Free Press called the deal a "train wreck."

The $39-billion AT&T/T-Mobile merger faces approval by the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission and could take a year to pass. Analysts are predicting regulators to impose a number of conditions. Sprint was not happy about this either. "This transaction is fundamentally anti-competitive, and you can't fix that with merger conditions," Charles McKee, Sprint's vice president of government affairs, told Reuters. 

AT&T's argument is that there are five or more competitors in 18 of the top 20 wireless markets, meaning the merger would not be a threat to competition. But Sprint is lobbying regulators to review the merger on a national level, rather than the market-by-market approach that the DOJ typically takes when assessing competitiveness in mergers. 

The private equity firm Robert W. Baird & Co. raised expectations for AT&T stock to "outperform," saying it was confident the merger will be approved. Expectations for Leap Wireless and MetroPCS were also raised to "outperform" because the merger would put pressure on Verizon or Sprint to acquire smaller regional wireless carriers.



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RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By Arsynic on 3/29/2011 9:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
...and the data service is worse.


RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By Dr of crap on 3/29/2011 10:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know why everyone is so locked onto customer service. Is that how you base the cell companies? I have Sprint, and I have called customer serivce, but I do not guage my cell service on how my customer service calls are handled.

And by the way, the customer service has been just fine.
And my family share plan is also just fine, and compared to others I have read about on here, is far above the others - unlimited text & web serfing - no overage charges, no restricting, and I get service all over. I won't be looking to go to AT&T at anytime!


RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By Taft12 on 3/29/2011 1:53:29 PM , Rating: 2
Spoken like someone who hasn't been the victim of poor customer service. You even said yourself you've had "no overage charges, no restrictions". That in itself has nothing to do with customer service -- those things happen all the time to customers of all wireless carriers.

When your billing is screwed up and won't get fixed or you get treated like a liar, that's when you find out how important customer service is. You just haven't yet had the opportunity to find out.


RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By torpor on 3/29/2011 2:28:56 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, Sprint's everything plan (which I have) is unlimited everything, no caps/throttles/borders/whatever.

Wife and I share the plan. We both have Androids and suck down data like a whirlpool. No overage charges, no nastygrams, no throttles, no nothing.

It's pretty hard to f-up a bill when it's an honest unlimited. Maybe you should try it out, see what we mean.


RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By Dr of crap on 3/29/2011 3:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
Acctually i have had billing issues and that's why I caontacted tehm, and they have been nothing but helpful, and I was treated kindly.

So don't tell me I don't know OF what I speak!


RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By tng on 3/29/2011 4:33:51 PM , Rating: 4
Doesn't matter what you say, there is someone out there that has had issues with your favorite company.

One of my favorite sites used to be comcastmustdie.com

This site was started by a disgruntled Comcast customer, but evolved to include many other companies. Almost all the stories on there are nightmare sagas of customer service gone very wrong.

Point is, as many people as you find that have had good experiences with Sprint, you will find just as many who have had bad ones.


RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By Dr of crap on 3/30/2011 11:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
And since the squeaky wheel gets the greese, we should call the whole of the Sprint customer service bad then, right?
How many GOOD experinces are there to offset, but not reported anywhere?

And why rate the company bad because of this?
Is the coverage bad ?
Are calls being dropped a lot ?
Are you mad about your cell phone ?
All these would be worse than bad customer service.

Hell all I here is about how bad AT&T drops calls. Just on that alone I'd not want AT&T for my cell service, never mind the customer service aspect.

I'm just saying ONLY the bad things get spread all over the net, and you DO NOT hear of the good. I've had the good and I'm letting you know about it.

It's the same with any company, only the BAD gets spread around, and maybe there are much more GOOD experiences, but you do not hear about them!


RE: Mighty strong laungage..
By tng on 3/30/2011 2:23:07 PM , Rating: 2
You are right you know, there is no reporting service for good experiences.

We as human animals seem to be wired to remember the worst more so than any other experience and yes the squeaky wheel does get the attention.


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