Sprint doesn't want AT&T-Mo either

Sprint doesn't want AT&T-Mo either

If the US Government and the Department of Justice weren't enough, now the AT&T and T-Mobile US merger has to go up against... Sprint. Yes, adding some measure of insult to potential anti-trust injury, Medium Sized Yellow has sued to prevent Big Blue and Small Magenta from combining to form... slightly bigger Blue with just a blush of rose. (And yes, this is me taking the news far, far less seriously than Sprint intended.)

“Sprint opposes AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile,” said Susan Z. Haller, vice president-Litigation, Sprint. “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’s lawsuit focuses on the competitive and consumer harms which would result from a takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T. The proposed takeover 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.

While it does feel like slapping a parking ticket on a guy already facing Federal court, you gotta admire Sprint's moxie. And if all 4 US carriers score iPhone 5's this fall, competition might never be fiercer.


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Sprint doesn't want AT&T-Mo either


Because Verizon doesn't care. Verizon is at the top of the food chain. A lion (Verizon) doesn't care that an antelope (AT&T) eats grass (T-Mobile USA). The lion will carry about its day, unless it decides to eat the antelope... then the antelope is SOL. haha

Because T-Mobile has a history of lower pricing, whereas AT&T does not. AT&T gobbling up T-Mobile removes that lower priced competitor from Verizon in T-Mobile-overlapping coverage areas.

US cellular(although in it's name) is not nationwide. Northerners that I know who come to Florida with US cellular wind up roaming on Verizon's network.

Why shouldn't AT&T be allowed to merge with T-Mobile? Why do "we" need to break up the current four wireless carriers to increase competition? How do you propose we do this breaking up? Why do we need one or the other? Who is we?

Verizon- Simba
At-t- Scar
T-mo- potentially Scar's hienas(?)
Sprint- Rafiki....so lets leave the wise old baboon alone, Simba virtually killed Scar and lets turn T-Mo to Timon & Pumba. Hakuna Matata.
Psyched about Lion King 3D lolol

Sprint cares because of its costs, the same as any other consumer who chooses to use a lower cost network (T-Mo) or a higher priced on (ATT or Verizon). Sprint pays for roaming access on other networks. I haven't seen any data on those costs, but my guess is it would raise prices enough that Sprint might have to consider dropping its unlimited/roaming free data plans. That would kill every (the only) advantage Sprint has -especially if they have to sit out another cycle with no iphone.

On behalf of consumers??? What? Not this consumer. I realize that TMO is dead without ATT, and Sprint realizes that with this lawsuit they can attempt to create less competition for themselves. Theyre doing the same thing that "supposedly" ATT is by this lawsuit. Trying to eliminate competition. Which I wholeheartedly believe ATT is NOT doing. If you ask me... ATT is saving a sinking ship. That's the way it should be looked at. Because when ATT doesn't gobble up TMO... TMO is doomed.
Oh and that "harming retail customers by creating higher prices" point is BS. ATT isnt going to raise handset and plan prices with a merger. Nor would sprint. That would be stupid on their part... They HAVE to remain competitive with the remaining carriers. Ridiculous statement sheesh