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Sprint CEO Dan Hesse
Hesse feels he is fighting for Sprint's survival and the industry

The biggest wireless announcement of the year was AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile that would make it the largest carrier in the U.S. While the merger is expected to get the green light by regulators, some in the industry think that the merger is bad for the industry.

Sprint is working hard to get the merger blocked and is pulling out all of the stops to accomplish its mission. Not only does Sprint think that its survival is at stake, but the company wants everyone to believe that the purchase of T-Mobile by AT&T will be disastrous for the industry and consumers. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse is working to find any way possible to block the purchase from having Sprint's own engineers tell AT&T how it could increase its capacity to hiring lobbyists and courting other CEO's to stand against the deal.

Many think that the only thing Sprint can hope for is to force the FCC and other regulators to impose conditions on the purchase that would make it better for Sprint. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, "Clearly, purely, we want to win and block the merger. This one poses real risks."

The issue for Sprint as a company is that the merged AT&T/T-Mobile carrier and Verizon could make Sprint unable to compete for new devices and on price, ultimately forcing the company out of business. Hesse has already admitted that Sprint's survival as an independent is in doubt if the purchase goes through.

Hesse continues, "The industry just won’t be as innovative and as dynamic as it has been. It’ll gum up the works when everything has to go through these two big tollbooths, one that’s called AT&T and one that’s called Verizon."

While Sprint and Hesse argue against the deal, AT&T says that the merger would be better for consumers. The purchase would allow AT&T to make more investments in networks and future technologies according to AT&T. AT&T General Counsel Wayne Watts said, "Their arguments about prices going up just defy economic logic. We’ve had wireless transactions multiple times over the last ten years and prices have gone one direction: they’ve gone down."

Many note that while AT&T has promised it will use the purchase to improve wireless broadband access, there is no way to force a company to stand up to promises made. The only way to enforce promises would be for the Justice Department to place conditions on the merger and if they conditions aren't met AT&T could be taken to court.

Many believe that Sprint's concerns are being heard by the decision makers.  Whether or not they are enough to block the sale remains to be seen. The FCC and Congress are grilling AT&T on the purchase looking for any possible downside to the buyout.

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Pot calling the kettle black
By Rogeraususa on 6/28/2011 2:48:37 PM , Rating: 3
I think this merger needs to be blocked to avoid the "Ma-Bell" scenario that the government dissolved a few decades back. However, Sprint is no angel and I still recall the notorious behavior of that company in the 1990's where you couldn't cancel a Sprint landline account to save your life.

It's simply time to go back 10-15 years in time and get a normal cell phone plan for a low double-digit $cost$ per month... *sigh*

RE: Pot calling the kettle black
By Targon on 6/28/2011 4:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon has scooped up smaller players over the years to become the largest local telco in the USA. As a result, they also have been using the land and equipment from the local telcom business to boost the strength of the cell phone network.

Considering that Verizon gets money from the government to "compensate for maintaining the landline network", I argue that if you want to complain about "ma Bell", Verizon has more claim to that title than AT&T does at this point in time. They get government aid for what ends up strengthening their cellular network, so why not let AT&T buy T-mobile?

RE: Pot calling the kettle black
By mcnabney on 6/29/2011 9:52:24 AM , Rating: 2
You haven't been paying attention.

Verizon has been SELLING their landline businesses over the past 5-10 years. They operate landlines in only a few core markets now - the less profitable ones they have sold. Their core investments are landlines/data/FiOS in several large cities and wireless across the nation. Their landline presence probably covers a third of the states that it once did.

RE: Pot calling the kettle black
By Wererat on 6/28/2011 5:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
"It's simply time to go back 10-15 years in time and get a normal cell phone plan for a low double-digit $cost$ per month... *sigh*"

Yep, as soon as the ETF hits a low enough number that's my next move. For the difference in monthly cost, I can afford a wifi-only tablet or other device.

RE: Pot calling the kettle black
By Solandri on 6/28/2011 5:34:42 PM , Rating: 1
My first plan in 1998 was $30/mo for 300 minutes. 9pm - 5am nights and weekends were free. Pretty much everything else - text, data, picture mail, long distance , etc. - cost extra.

The rise in plan prices has been paralleled by a bulking up of plan features. If you really could switch back to a plan from 10-15 years ago, you'd probably be feeling awfully cramped.

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