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Sprint decides to throw in its own lawsuit just to keep things interesting in the AT&T/T-Mobile merger discussion

AT&T thought that everything was going to be smooth sailing for its $39 billion USD acquisition of T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom AG. After all, how could the government deny "significant customer, shareowner and public benefits" and AT&T's quest to "better meet our customers’ current demands, build for the future and help achieve the President’s goals for a high-speed, wirelessly connected America."

Well, after reading through the proposal and all of the evidence laid out by AT&T, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block the merger, with Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole stating, "The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would result in tens of millions of consumers all across the United States facing higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for mobile wireless services." 

AT&T was apparently blindsided by the move, exclaiming, "We are surprised and disappointed by today’s action, particularly since we have met repeatedly with the Department of Justice and there was no indication from the DOJ that this action was being contemplated."

Not surprisingly, Sprint is delighted with this recent turn of events, and today hopped onto the anti-"AT&T-Mobile" bandwagon with a lawsuit of its own.

“Sprint opposes AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile,” said Susan Z. Haller, Sprint's vice president of litigation. “With today’s legal action, we are continuing that advocacy on behalf of consumers and competition, and expect to contribute our expertise and resources in proving that the proposed transaction is illegal.”

Sprint went on to add that the combined forces of AT&T and T-Mobile would:

  • Harm retail consumers and corporate customers by causing higher prices and less innovation.
  • Entrench the duopoly control of AT&T and Verizon, the two “Ma Bell” descendants, of the almost one-quarter of a trillion dollar wireless market. As a result of the transaction, AT&T and Verizon would control more than three-quarters of that market and 90 percent of the profits.
  • Harm Sprint and the other independent wireless carriers. If the transaction were to be allowed, a combined AT&T and T-Mobile would have the ability to use its control over backhaul, roaming and spectrum, and its increased market position to exclude competitors, raise their costs, restrict their access to handsets, damage their businesses and ultimately to lessen competition.

For now, Sprint has the U.S. Government on its side, so things are decidedly looking in its favor. However, AT&T has a few tricks up its sleeve and may be willing to cede some ownership of T-Mobile to allow the merger to go through.

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Go Sprint
By Choppedliver on 9/6/2011 2:14:03 PM , Rating: 4
The last year or so, I am loving sprint. Been a customer for 11 years... through the good and the bad. Good to see the underdog making a comeback.

I know they are biased, but their explanations are right on. ATT's reasons are absolutely bs.

RE: Go Sprint
By JBird7986 on 9/6/2011 2:27:35 PM , Rating: 4
I was an AT&T customer until last summer, when I switched to Sprint. So far, I have no complaints about their services, and I find the quality to be way higher than AT&T. I'm glad that most authorities are seeing what's really going on with AT&T-Mobile, AKA AT&T's attempted resuscitation of Ma Bell. I hope Sprint is around for a good long while with their unlimited network plans. I can't believe that they've not been more successful with it.

RE: Go Sprint
By peebee on 9/6/2011 2:55:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I also think the Verizon and Alltel merger should not have happened too. Overall the wireless industry is becoming more and more controlled by just a few big hitters and it's killing competition.

Ironically, I also switched from AT&T to Sprint last year and am posting this while hauling ass through Colorado on I25, tethered on my Evo 4G.

RE: Go Sprint
By Mitch101 on 9/6/2011 3:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
What ATT Owes T-Mobile if Deal Doesn’t Go Through

AT&T will be required to pay a breakup fee of $3 (billion), transfer to T-Mobile certain AWS spectrum that is not needed by AT&T for its initial LTE roll out, and provide a roaming agreement to T-Mobile on terms favorable to both parties

RE: Go Sprint
By Master Kenobi on 9/6/2011 6:49:22 PM , Rating: 2
That is a pretty hefty payout. Seems T-Mobile doesn't care either way, regardless of the outcome they stand to improve their position substantially.

RE: Go Sprint
By C'DaleRider on 9/6/2011 7:19:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well, from what I've read, T-Mobile will continue to be on the block to sell....wouldn't it be deliciously ironic at the end of all this legal wrangling if Sprint bought T-Mobile?

RE: Go Sprint
By Targon on 9/6/2011 11:23:22 PM , Rating: 3
Sprint doesn't have the money to buy T-mobile, which is why they are crying about all of this. T-mobile will end up going out of business here in the USA, no matter what happens, so any argument that says this means less choice is ALREADY looking at that.

So, what happens if this merger doesn't happen? T-mobile goes under, all those customers end up switching to Verizon or AT&T, with a tiny number going to Sprint(due to a lack of coverage areas), and everyone from T-mobile will be complaining that they have no choice once their carrier goes down.

So, what is solved by all this legal BS? It doesn't benefit ANYONE, except for perhaps 2 more years of T-mobile being in existence.

RE: Go Sprint
By tviceman on 9/7/2011 12:37:58 AM , Rating: 2
Sprint is getting the iphone in a few months. Sprint see's a significant uptick in new customers. Sprint will have the ability in 2-3 years to afford the ability to merge with or float a loan to purchase T-Mobile USA. Sprint is now equal to AT&T and Verizon.

This is all optimistic hoping (except for the iPhone coming, which is all but confirmed) but a plausible, and favorable, scenario.

RE: Go Sprint
By Targon on 9/7/2011 10:37:09 AM , Rating: 2
The iPhone is so over hyped it is not even funny. People expected tons of people to leave from AT&T when Verizon got the iPhone, and it didn't happen. People are at the point where they pick the carrier, not based on phone, but because of personal preference for a number of reasons. Sprint doesn't have more customers, not because it doesn't offer the iPhone, but because the coverage area is TINY compared to AT&T and Verizon. T-mobile doesn't have more customers for the same reason, a lack of coverage area.

Sprint just doesn't want to be seen as being in last place when it comes to the BIG carriers, and THAT is why they don't want to see AT&T pick up T-mobile. It is all about image, and Sprint executives HATE that they are not in a better position, while at the same time, being unable to significantly increase coverage area at a fast enough rate to compete well.

RE: Go Sprint
By DJ Brandon on 9/7/2011 12:05:44 PM , Rating: 1
Ive been an ATT(cingular) customer for 11 years. As soon as Sprint gets the iPhone I am jumping ship! I love the iPhone! =)

RE: Go Sprint
By bigboxes on 9/7/2011 12:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry. Sprint has lack of coverage area? What kind of crap is that? I use my phone all over the U.S. without issue. I even had EVDO service in Aspen. Here in North Texas I have crystal clear digital service. I can always tell when someone is on AT&T, when their calls are not being dropped.

RE: Go Sprint
By Targon on 9/7/2011 7:08:57 PM , Rating: 1
Yea, lack of coverage area....many more dead areas where Sprint does not have coverage where AT&T and Verizon DO have coverage. Aspen is one of those places where there would be too much publicity if people went there on a ski vacation and had no coverage. Try going out 60+ miles from cities(which isn't the middle of nowhere), and THAT is where you will find more places where Sprint does not have coverage but the others do.

RE: Go Sprint
By Mr772 on 9/8/2011 6:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
That's a total BS argument. Anywhere you have Verizon coverage you have Sprint Coverage!

RE: Go Sprint
By Samus on 9/8/2011 1:18:55 AM , Rating: 1
T-mobile USA isn't going out of business. You're so full of shit I can smell it from here. All these idiots that think the European arm of T-mob is holding the company together need to research the facts:




Notice anything interesting about the up, down, up trend? Also notice anything interesting about the number of subscribers? Yes, T-mobile has lost subscribers annually since 2006. They are going to their competition, the same competition that is trying to buy them.

The reason T-mob wasn't profitable between 2008-2010 is simply because of THIS

It take a long time to pay down that kind of debt, even for a multi-billion dollar company. Spreading it out over a few years and taking the losses is the most logical thing to do, unless your a moron. Where do you think they pulled HSPA+ out of?

T-mobile is in a strong position with, or without AT&T. The only reason this whole merger materialized is because AT&T offered them a ridiculous amount of money. Dutsche Telecom knows T-mob USA is worth half what AT&T is willing to pay.

AT&T wants a monopoly. It's in their blood. It is what it is.

RE: Go Sprint
By danjw1 on 9/6/2011 3:09:02 PM , Rating: 2
It couldn't have helped ATT when they told regulators one thing, then documents get leaked that say another. They had said it would speed up their LTE rollout, but documents stated that they were slowing it down to help them justify the T-Mobile acquisition.

RE: Go Sprint
By Ammohunt on 9/6/2011 10:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
Don't fool yourself Sprint has ulterior motives they would be a distant 3rd in the top three carriers if they created at&T-mobile. They have proven they can't compete no matter what the market looks like.

RE: Go Sprint
By tviceman on 9/7/2011 12:40:05 AM , Rating: 2
I've been with Sprint since 1998, and have never had the desire to switch to another carrier because I'd either get less services for the same price, or I'd have to pay more and still be subject to potential crap practices like bandwidth throttling.

RE: Go Sprint
By cruisin3style on 9/7/2011 3:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
I just started using virgin mobile, it runs off of Sprint's network and i think Sprint actually owns virgin in the US. anyway, other than a few places where I get little to no reception, I feel the same way & really like the service and don't plan to switch any time soon.

AT&T flourishes
By Chaser on 9/6/2011 2:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
from ginormous profits for years during its exclusive iPhone deal with Apple. But they didn't anticipate nor expand it's network noticeably to accommodate for the increased data usage over it's network while they bathed in iPhone profits.

Now their only very late answer and proposed solution is to buy up T-Mobile AND also their "new" tiered data plans.

I'm usually pro merger but in light of this crap I'm glad the DOJ is opposing this.

My last two providers have been Sprint and presently T-mobile. In my experience they both provide outstanding customer support. Especially Sprint. Keep them honest and keep our options please.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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