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.