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Sprint: “AT&T / T-Mobile Deal Would Harm Consumers”

Third place wireless provider officially announces opposition to acquisition

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Since last week’s announcement that AT&T, the nation’s largest wireless provider, is planning to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion, there has been no lack of criticism from many different outlets. Many worry that the deal could harm competition and in the end hurt the quality of service provided to consumers. Sprint is the latest to throw their hat in the ring, today publicly opposing the acquisition in a press release.

Sprint says that the deal could do incredible damage to the competition and innovation that flourished in the wireless industry for some time. Sprint notes that decisions by the U.S. government and courts have served to open the wireless market in the part few decades. They fear that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile could undo all of that progress.

Sprint notes that if the deal is finalized, a company will be created that is nearly three times the size of Sprint in terms of revenue and that a duopoly would be solidified, with AT&T and Verizon controlling the wireless market.

“Sprint urges the United States government to block this anti-competitive acquisition,” said Vonya McCann, senior vice president, Government Affairs. “This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it. As the first national carrier to roll out 4G services and handsets and the carrier that brought simple unlimited pricing to the marketplace, Sprint stands ready to compete in a truly dynamic marketplace. So 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.”

The deal must eventually pass through the Department of Justice and the FCC, which will have extensive hearings on the subject. Sprint will most likely be given their chance to get their opposition on the record.

Sprint is not the first to publically oppose this acquisition, as last week the Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG) released their own opposition. RTG is an association of small service providers, all serving less than 100,000 wireless customers. They say that this is just one in a line of mergers & acquisitions that will eventually kill all competition:

Over and over again, RTG and its members have voiced their concerns regarding the negative repercussions that will befall the mobile wireless industry if mergers and acquisitions, especially among the sector’s largest players, continue unabated. “November 4, 2008, the day the FCC approved the Alltel/Verizon merger under Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, was the first day the United States wireless market ceased to be competitive,” stated RTG’s General Counsel, Caressa Bennet. “The market has failed and T-Mobile’s decision to throw in the towel only confirms it.” The Department of Justice and the FCC have approved similar mergers in the past and American consumers should brace themselves for losing yet another marketplace choice in the mobile sector.

Sprint: “AT&T / T-Mobile Deal Would Harm Consumers”
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